The Israeli police on Sunday for the third time recommended that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara be indicted for bribery and other offences. The latest recommendation has come in a span of few months.
It is now for the attorney general to decide whether to bring indictments in the case which involves regulatory benefits allegedly granted to telecommunications firm Bezeq in exchange for positive coverage from a related media company.
Earlier, in February, the Israeli police had recommended charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust against Netanyahu in two separate corruption cases which were handed over to Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
In a formal statement, the police had then said that they have concluded that there is “sufficient evidence” against Netanyahu in the cases which he immediately rejected, claiming “these recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began.”
He has repeatedly called the allegations against him in all three cases a plot by his political enemies to force him from office.
“I’m sure that in this case the relevant authorities, after examining the issue, will reach the same conclusion: that there was nothing because there is nothing,” he said in a statement.
The police recommended that Sara Netanyahu face charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust, and obstruction of evidence.
In March, the Israeli media had reported that the police had questioned Netanyahu as part of an investigation. Army Radio and other media had reported that Netanyahu was questioned at his residence while his wife Sara was questioned separately at another location.
The police had then also recommended indicting Netanyahu while the Prime Minister denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations as a media witch hunt.
In October, Benjamin Netanyahu was questioned for 12th time by the Israeli police. Even as investigators arrived at Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem, protesters gathered outside with a large banner bearing Netanyahu’s face with “crime minister” inscribed amid chanting slogans calling for justice.
One high-profile case involves allegedly taking gifts from billionaires, including Arnon Milchan, an Israeli film producer in Hollywood with super-hits like 12 Years a Slave, JFK, Heat, Fight Club, Mr and Mrs Smith among others to his credit.
(With agency inputs)