Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should face indictment on two bribery charges stemming from a long-running corruption investigation, Israeli police said on Tuesday.

Netanyahu has been questioned several times since the start of 2017 and denies wrongdoing, but police say that they have found enough evidence to recommend that prosecutors seek indictments.

But speaking on Israeli television, Netanyahu said that the charges “will end with nothing” and that he will “continue to lead Israel responsibly and faithfully”.

Netanyahu defends son taped talking about strippers

A prime minister who is facing such police recommendations or who has been formally charged with offences is not obliged to resign.

Netanyahu later said in a Facebook message: “The real question is the integrity of the investigation, and the only way to get to the bottom of it is through an objective, unbiased and quick investigation.”

Although Israeli police can recommend the indictments, the final decision rests with the attorney general – and may take weeks or months to arrive.

The first case, referred to as “Case 1000,” claims that Netanyahu received expensive gifts, including pricey cigars, from wealthy supporters such as Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer, who was briefly married to Mariah Carey.

His wife Sara allegedly received bottles of pink champagne. The gifts were reportedly worth some tens of thousands of US dollars.

The other case, 2000, involves deals made between Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, publisher of popular Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

According to Israeli press sources, the deal would have allowed the prime minister to receive more favourable coverage from the newspaper if he agreed to weaken the status of rival daily publication Israel Hayom, owned by US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, was forced to resign in 2009 after being plagued by corruption allegations during his term. He was indicted shortly after his resignation and was convicted in 2014. 

As allegations against Netanyahu have built, so have weekly demonstrations calling on him to resign, though they have lacked scale, drawing only a few thousand participants.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, has repeatedly attacked the police, accusing them of being politically motivated and attempting to stage a coup. 

Source link