Israel police recommend PM Netanyahu be charged with bribery

Israel Police Recommend Indicting Benjamin Netanyahu In Corruption Probe

Israeli police recommend indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara on bribery charges involving Israel's telecom giant.

The Israeli Prime Minister is accused of interfering in regulatory decisions in favour of the Bezeq group and it's chief shareholder Shaul Elovitch - in exchange for favorable reporting on the Walla news website.

Police have already recommended indicting Netanyahu on corruption charges in two other cases.

Mr Netanyahu has long framed this investigation as a witch hunt organised by the media and the accusations against him as personal rather than legal in nature. "These recommendations were decided upon and leaked even before the investigation began".

"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 said.

The police's recommendation has triggered calls for Netanyahu to resign immediately.

Mr Netanyahu rejected the allegations in what is known as Case 4000.

Journalists who previously worked for Walla have confirmed that they were pressured into exclusively covering Netanyahu in a positive light.

The police also recommended that charges of fraud and breach of trust be brought against Netanyahu and his wife.

Two of his top confidants have turned state witnesses and are believed to have provided police with incriminating evidence.

Israel's attorney general will decide whether to go forward with charges. Netanyahu held the government's communications portfolio until past year and oversaw regulation in the field.

Police said Sunday their investigation found that between 2012 and 2017, "the prime minister and his confidantes crudely and consistently, at times on a daily basis, intervened in the content published by the Walla news website".

It is claimed Netanyahu and his advisers supported regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to telecom company Bezeq.

Those relate to allegations that Netanyahu accepted gifts from businessmen and that he tried to strike a deal with a different media mogul for better coverage in return for curbs on a competing newspaper.

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

Both Netanyahu and Elovitch have denied any wrongdoing.

The head of the opposition Labour party, Mr Avi Gabbay, renewed his call for Mr Netanyahu to resign after the latest recommendations were released.

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