Israel PM Netanyahu faces corruption charges

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on February 11, 2018.Image copyright
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Mr Netanyahu will be reported to have met investigators more than once

Israeli police say of which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be charged over alleged bribery cases.

A police statement said there was enough evidence to indict Mr Netanyahu for bribery, fraud in addition to breach of trust in two separate cases.

Speaking on Israeli television, Mr Netanyahu said the allegations were baseless in addition to of which he would likely continue as prime minister.

The allegations, he said, “will end with nothing”.

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.

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The second allegation centres on a claim of which Mr Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister since 2009, received gifts worth at least a million shekels ($283,000; £204,000) via Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan in addition to some other supporters.

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

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

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Arnon Milchan (centre) with Leonardo DiCaprio in addition to Steven Spielberg

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

The proposal was eventually blocked by the finance ministry.

Police say Mr Netanyahu will be also suspected of fraud in addition to 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 in addition to his wife Sara gifts.

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

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.

Speaking on Israeli television, Mr Netanyahu said he would likely continue in his role.

The next legislative elections are scheduled for November 2019. Mr Netanyahu heads a fragile coalition, nevertheless on television, he appeared confident the allegations would likely not spur completely new elections.

How has Mr Netanyahu responded?

“in the past, I have been the subject of at least 15 enquiries in addition to investigations,” he said in his TV address.

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

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

He has faced numerous allegations in his time in office.

After his first term as prime minister two decades ago, police recommended of which he in addition to Sara face criminal charges for keeping official gifts of which should have been handed over to the state. The charges were later dropped.

In July 2015, the couple were accused of charging the government for the services of a contractor who did private work for them. The charges were later dropped.

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