Israeli police recommend Benjamin Netanyahu face bribery prosecution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

They recommended Ms Sara Netanyahu face charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and obstruction of justice.

Police said they had established an "evidentiary foundation" to charge the Netanyahus with accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust.

The case, known as Case 4000, is one of the largest facing the Israeli leader and his inner circle.

Netanyahu served as communications minister from 2015 to 2017.

Mr Elovitch was chairman and controlling shareholder of Bezeq at the time of the allegations.

Former journalists at the Walla news site have attested to being pressured to refrain from negative reporting of Netanyahu. News, which is owned by Elovitch.

Responding to the most recent charges, Netanyahu questioned the timing and veracity of the announcement, accusing police of leaking parts of the investigation even before any conclusions were reached. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.

"Netanyahu and those close to him bluntly intervened, sometimes on a daily basis, with the content being published on the Walla news website, and sought to influence the appointment of senior employees (editors and reporters), while using their ties to Shaul and Iris Elovitch", the police statement read. "Only recently, police recommendations in cases against other public figures were rejected by the relevant authorities".

"There was nothing because there is nothing", he concluded.

The couple on a visit to the White House in March
Image The PM and his wife Sara on a visit to the White House in March

Netanyahu has been prime minister for a total of more than 12 years, from 1996 to 1999 and again since 2009. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem November 25, 2018.

Reuven Hazan, a political scientist at Hebrew University, said Netanyahu will likely try to push forward elections before Mandelblit decides whether to indict.

Her lawyers slammed the indictment in July, describing it as "false and hallucinatory".

Following the latest statement from police on Sunday, opposition politicians once again called on Netanyahu to resign. "The people of Israel deserve clean leadership".

"A prime minister with so many corruption cases around him can not continue at his job and must resign", Gabbay tweeted.

Despite the ongoing criminal investigations, which began a year and a half ago, Netanyahu has held on to the support of his Likud party and his coalition.

Under Israeli law, Netanyahu does not have to resign until he is convicted and that conviction is upheld through the appeals process.

"He'll send a message to the attorney general that everyone knew about these three police reports and they still voted for him and want him in power", Hazan said.

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Paul is also charged with possession of a firearm and possession of a weapon for an unlawful objective , according to reports. If convicted of the crime, Paul Caneiro faces 30 years to life in prison, Gramiccioni said. "It's pretty shocking stuff".

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