Published: Mon, December 03, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Israel police want PM Benjamin Netanyahu and wife tried for graft

Israel police want PM Benjamin Netanyahu and wife tried for graft

The Bezeq case, known as Case 4000, is the most serious of all those of which Mr Netanyahu has been accused.

Netanyahu served as communications minister from 2015 to 2017.

At the time Elovitch was chairman and controlling shareholder of Bezeq.

In exchange, Elovitch, a long-time friend of Netanyahu's, allegedly ordered the Walla News website to provide favorable coverage of the Israeli premier and his wife. News, which is owned by Elovitch.

There was, however, insufficient evidence to charge Mr Netanyanu's son Yair, police said. Netanyahu, who just two weeks ago brought his coalition from the brink of collapse after a junior partner bolted, denied any wrongdoing.

"These recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began", he said.

Earlier this year, investigators also recommended that Netanyahu be tried for allegedly taking almost $300,000 worth of gifts including expensive cigars and champagne from wealthy friends including Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.

Netanyahu's colleagues in the ruling Likud party have lined up behind up, attacking outgoing Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh for releasing the recommendation on his last day on the job.

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"There was nothing because there is nothing", he concluded.

The final decision on whether to indict rests with Israel's attorney-general, who is still weighing whether to charge Netanyahu in the other two cases. In Case 1000, Netanyahu and Sara are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors while Case 2000 involves an alleged quid pro quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes.

Israelis have been holding protests to demand the prime minister's resignation over the corruption scandals, but Netanyahu has described the events as part of efforts meant to topple him "at any cost".

The Prime Minister's wife, Sara Netanyahu, was charged in July with fraud and breach of trust in a separate investigation, alleging misuse of state funds at the couple's official residence. Information leaked to the Israeli media suggested the agreement would have allowed the Prime Minister to receive more favourable coverage from the newspaper if he agreed to weaken the status of rival daily newspaper Israel Hayom, owned by USA casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. "Elections now!" she said.

Other opposition figures, including opposition leader Tzipi Livni, quickly joined in the call for Netanyahu to resign. The White House is trying to build a coalition of Middle Eastern leaders to deter Iran, to that end encouraging the warming of relations between Israel and Arab states that outwardly shun it and sidelining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"A prime minister with so many corruption cases around him can not continue at his job and must resign", Gabbay tweeted.

The other is Mr Shlomo Filber, a Netanyahu ally for more than 20 years and former director general of the communications ministry.

Under Israeli law, Netanyahu does not have to resign until he is convicted and that conviction is upheld through the appeals process.

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