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19 February 2018

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02/14/2018 ISRAEL

Israeli police accuse Netanyahu of corruption

There are two cases in which the Israeli prime minister allegedly accepted  bribes and gifts. The power of attorney must decide whether to press charges. Netanyahu rejects the charges and excludes his resignation.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - "There is sufficient evidence against the Prime Minister to indict him for accepting bribes, fraud and abuse of trust" reads a statement issued yesterday by Israeli police asking the prosecutor to indict Benjamin Netanyahu. During a television broadcast, the premier rejected the accusations stating that "they will not lead to anything" and that he intends to continue to lead the country.

For two months, the police have been investigating two cases involving the premier. The first concerns the press: Netanyahu reportedly asked Arnon Moses, editor of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, to give him positive coverage; in exchange, the premier helped curb a rival publication. The second investigation focuses on the suspicion that Netanyahu received gifts worth at least a million shekels [about 230 thousand euros, ed] from Israeli Hollywood tycoon Arnon Milchan, for helping him to obtain an American visa and favoring his companies. The police said the prime minister was lobbying for the Milchan Law, a law blocked by the finance ministry, which exempted Israelis from returning to the country for 10 years after a period of residency abroad.

Prosecutor General Avishaï Mandelblit will decide whether Netanyahu should appear in court, but the decision could take months. The center-left opposition alliance, the Zionist Union, is calling for Netanyahu’s resignation. Several members of the Prime Minister's right-wing Likud took up his defense.

Although his majority in the Knesset is fragile, Netanyahu on television proved confident of his party's chances of victory in the upcoming elections, scheduled for November 2019.






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