Israeli police have recommended the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charge with corruption.
For months, police have been investigating two cases against him. In one probe, Netanyahu reportedly received over $100,000 in gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and other wealthy supporters in return for 10-year US visas.
The other is over secret talks with the publisher of a major Israeli newspaper in which Netanyahu allegedly requested positive coverage in exchange for reining in a free pro-Netanyahu daily.
Authorities believe he should be charged with corruption in both cases, including bribery, according to local media reports.
Netanyahu insisted he will continue to lead Israel ‘responsibly and faithfully’. Tonight, he said the police accusations were baseless and that they will ‘end with nothing’.
Pressure had built on Netanyahu as police investigating him in the long-running probe prepared to submit their recommendations to the attorney general.
The attorney general is expected to take weeks or months to decide how to proceed.
Netanyahu posted a response on Facebook late last Wednesday in which he lashed out at the police commissioner, calling suggestions that he sent private investigators on such a mission ‘ridiculous’.
‘It is shocking to discover that the commissioner has repeated the mistaken and ridiculous suggestion that Prime Minister Netanyahu sent private investigators after the police who are investigating him,’ the post said.
He also referred to claims that sexual harassment allegations against the head of the unit investigating Netanyahu were an attempt to smear him because of the graft probe.
‘Any honest person would ask himself how people who say such delusional things about the prime minister can objectively investigate him and honestly give unbiased recommendations,’ the post said.
‘A large shadow was cast tonight over the police investigations and their recommendations related to Prime Minister Netanyahu.’
The investigation has raised the possibility that Netanyahu, prime minister for a total of nearly 12 years, will eventually be forced to resign.
Police were investigating Netanyahu over suspicions that he received expensive gifts, including pricey cigars, from wealthy supporters such as Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.
His wife allegedly received bottles of pink champagne. The gifts were reportedly worth some tens of thousands of dollars.
They were also probing allegations that he sought a secret deal for favourable coverage with the publisher of top-selling newspaper Yediot Aharonot.