Israel: Police recommend indicting PM Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife on charges of bribery, fraud
There were suspicions that he had an alleged quid pro quo deal with the country’s largest telecommunications company Bezeq Group from 2014 to 2017.
Israeli Police on Sunday recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and other offences in a case involving the country’s largest telecommunications company Bezeq Group, AFP reported.
This is the third corruption case against Netanyahu. The country’s attorney general is now expected to decide the next step.
The investigation, known as Case 4000, followed suspicions that Netanyahu during his term as the communications minister from 2014 to 2017 intervened with regulators to help the Bezeq Group, which is controlled by businessman Shaul Elovitch. Elovitch, in return, ordered Bezeq Group’s Walla news to provide favourable coverage for Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu.
Netanyahu rejected the accusations. “These recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began,” he said. “I’m sure that in this case the relevant authorities, after examining the issue, will reach the same conclusion: that there was nothing because there is nothing.”
He has repeatedly claimed that the allegations are a plot by his political enemies to make him quit.
Investigators have questioned Netanyahu several times in connection with this case, partly based on the testimony of Nir Hefetz, a former adviser to the prime minister who turned witness. Hefetz reportedly gave the police text messages and incriminating recordings indicating a quid pro quo relationship between Netanyahu and Bezeq Group.
Hefetz reportedly told the police he would at times speak with Elovitch up to seven times a day in his capacity as Netanyahu’s adviser. Hefetz was the third confidant of the prime minister to become a witness in various cases, joining former communications ministry director general Shlomo Filber and former chief of staff Ari Harow.
There are two other cases of corruption against him. In Case 1000, Netanyahu and Sara are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors while Case 2000 involves an alleged quid pro quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes.
Sara Netanyahu is undergoing trial in a fraud case for allegedly misusing state funds. If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison.