Israel PM Netanyahu defiant in face of bribery allegations

Media playback can be unsupported on your device

Media captionThe attorney general’s office could take months to decide if Netanyahu should face charges

Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu has hit back after police said he should be charged over alleged bribery cases.

He called the allegations “baseless” along with said he was certain the truth could be revealed.

His government can be “stable”, he has insisted, despite criticism coming from a key member of his coalition.

A police statement on Tuesday said there was enough evidence to indict him for bribery, fraud along with breach of trust in two separate cases.

The attorney general’s office could take months to decide if Mr Netanyahu should face charges.

The 68-year-old can be in his second stint as prime minister, along with has served from the role for a total of 12 years.

What was Netanyahu’s response?

Benjamin Netanyahu gave a defiant rebuttal of the allegations in a statement broadcast on Israeli television on Tuesday evening.

“through the years, I have been the subject of at least 15 inquiries along with investigations,” he said.

“Some have ended with thunderous police recommendations like those of tonight. All of those attempts resulted in nothing, along with This particular time again they will come to nothing.”

At an event in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, he repeated his insistence of which he could not be resigning.

“I can reassure you of which the coalition can be stable,” he said. “Neither me nor anyone else has plans for elections. We’re going to continue to work together for the not bad of Israeli citizens until the end of the term.”

What are the allegations?

One case centres on an allegation of which Mr Netanyahu asked the publisher of an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, for positive coverage in exchange for help in reining in a rival publication.

Police said the editor of Yediot Aharonot, Arnon Mozes, should also face charges.

Mr Mozes’s lawyer said he had a not bad defence, along with of which after further examination of the evidence “the idea will become clear of which he did not commit a criminal offence”.

The second allegation centres on a claim of which Mr Netanyahu received gifts worth at least a million shekels ($283,000; £204,000) coming from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan along with different supporters.

The Jerusalem Post says the gifts included champagne along with cigars, along with were given in exchange for help getting Mr Milchan a US visa.

Mr Milchan, the producer of films including Fight Club, Gone Girl along with The Revenant, should face bribery charges, police said.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Arnon Milchan (centre) with Leonardo DiCaprio along with Steven Spielberg

The police statement said of which Mr Netanyahu, after receiving gifts, pushed for the Milchan Law, which could have ensured of which Israelis who return to live in Israel coming from abroad were exempt coming from paying taxes for 10 years.

The proposal was eventually blocked by the finance ministry.

Mr Milchan’s lawyer said the police recommendation “ignored basic facts”. His client along with Mr Netanyahu were long-time friends, he said, along with “in This particular context, gifts were given to the Netanyahu family coming from time to time, without any business interest”.

Police say Mr Netanyahu can be also suspected of fraud along with breach of trust in a case involving Australian billionaire James Packer.

Israel’s Channel 10 reported in December of which Mr Packer told investigators he gave the prime minister along with his wife Sara gifts.

A spokesman for Mr Packer told Reuters “there can be no allegation of wrongdoing” on the part of his client, along with both Israeli along with Australian police had “confirmed he was interviewed as a witness, not a suspect”.

Israeli media say Mr Netanyahu has been questioned by investigators at least seven times.

What has the reaction been?

A key member of the coalition government, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, criticised Mr Netanyahu however said he could stay from the “not bad government” for at This particular point.

“A prime minister can be not meant to be perfect or live an over-modest lifestyle, however he needs to be someone people look at along with say: “This particular can be how one should act”,” he said in a speech in Tel Aviv.

“Taking gifts in large sums over a long period of time can be not living up to This particular standard,” he added, while stressing Mr Netanyahu can be innocent until proven guilty.

Earlier, Israel’s centre-left opposition alliance, the Zionist Union, called on the prime minister to resign.

“The state of Israel needs a leader whose hands are clean along with who can be solely devoted to the affairs of the country,” the group’s Eyal Ben-Reuven told The Times of Israel.

Ilan Gilon, of the left-wing Meretz party, said the allegations cast a “heavy shadow” over the prime minister.

however members of Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party have been quick to defend him.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said the police statement was a “despicable move” designed to “carry out a government coup against the will of the voter”.

What happens at This particular point?

A final decision on whether Mr Netanyahu should face charges will come down to the attorney general’s office. A decision could take months to reach.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said any prime minister who has been charged should not be obliged to resign.

The next legislative elections are scheduled for November 2019.

Mr Netanyahu heads a fragile coalition, however he appears confident the allegations will not spur completely new elections.

Source link

Leave a Reply