Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged in a series of corruption scandals, the country’s attorney general has said.

Avichai Mandelblit issued an indictment on Thursday charging Mr Netanyahu with fraud, breach of trust and bribery.
Mr Netanyahu, 70, has denied any wrongdoing and said he is a victim of a witch hunt.

Both he and Mr Mandelblit are scheduled to issue statements later on Thursday.

It is the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been charged with a crime, and threatens the long-term leader’s grip on power.
The indictment does not require Mr Netanyahu to resign but is expected to raise pressure on him to step down.

Allegations against Mr Netanyahu include suspicions he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of champagne and cigars from billionaire friends, offered to trade favours with a newspaper publisher and used his influence to help a wealthy telecom magnate in exchange for favourable coverage on a popular news site.
Case 1,000
The charges in this case include fraud and breach of trust.

They centre on allegations that Mr Netanyahu received gifts from Arnon Milchan, a prominent Hollywood producer and Israeli citizen, and Australian billionaire businessman James Packer, in return for favours.
Those gifts allegedly included champagne and cigars. Mr Netanyahu has said they were tokens of friendship and that he did not act inappropriately in exchange for them.

Case 2,000
In this case, Mr Netanyahu has been charged with fraud and breach of trust.

It centres on allegations that Mr Netanyahu negotiated a deal with the owner of Israel’s best-selling daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, for better coverage.

In return, prosecutors say he offered legislation that would slow the growth of a rival daily newspaper.

Both prime minister and publisher deny any wrongdoing.

Case 4,000
Mr Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, as well as fraud and breach of trust, in this case.

It alleges that Mr Netanyahu granted regulatory favours to Israel’s leading telecommunications company, Bezeq Telecom Israel, in return for favourable news coverage on one of its news websites, controlled by the company’s former chairman.

The prime minister has insisted the regulatory decisions were supported by experts and that he received nothing in return.

Bribery charges can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine. Fraud and breach of trust carry a prison sentence of up to three years.

However it could take many months before the cases are brought before the court, while Mr Netanyahu could also seek a plea deal rather than stand trial.

Source: Independent

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *