Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, attorney general says
SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/AFP/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) — Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, the country’s attorney general said Thursday.
Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit recommended the long-serving prime minister be indicted in three cases, a result of lengthy investigations into Netanyahu’s alleged dealings.
In one case, Netanyahu is alleged to have received expensive gifts from two businessmen — including a Hollywood producer — in exchange for favors. Mendelblit recommended charging Netanyahu with fraud and breach of trust in what has been dubbed “Case 1000.”
In “Case 2000,” Netanyahu is alleged to have made a deal to limit the distribution of one newspaper for more favorable coverage in another; the attorney general recommended charging him with breach of trust for that allegation.
In a third case, called “Case 4000,” Netanyahu allegedly intervened with regulators and advanced regulatory decisions as communications minister and prime minister between 2015 and 2017. That allegedly benefitted the controlling shareholder of Israel’s largest telecommunications firm in exchange for favorable coverage on a news site belonging to that shareholder.
Mendelblit recommended charging Netanyahu with bribery and breach of trust in “Case 4000.”
The prime minister will be allowed a pretrial hearing to mount his defense and try to sway the attorney general; it could take months for the hearing to happen.
It is rare, though, for an attorney general to reverse a decision.
The announcement comes just 40 days before a legislative election in Israel. Mendelblit resisted considerable political pressure from Netanyahu, who had called the election early and pushed for any announcement about indictment recommendations to come after the election.
Netanyahu’s Likud Party mounted a last-minute appeal to Israel’s High Court Thursday to block the announcement, but the court denied the appeal.
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