Published: Mon, December 03, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Netanyahu's legal troubles mount as police seek new bribery charges

Netanyahu's legal troubles mount as police seek new bribery charges

Authorities allege Netanyahu awarded regulatory favors to Israel's leading telecommunications company, Bezeq Telecom Israel (BEZQ.TA), in return for more positive coverage of him and his wife on a news website, Walla, owned by the company.

Police also recommended indicting Mr Elovitch and his wife Iris for giving bribes, among other offences, while the statement said their son Or should face fraud charges.

Netanyahu has also said he's innocent in those cases.

The Israeli attorney-general will now have to decide whether to bring charges in the case.

In coming months, the PM could find himself in the throes of early national elections after the departure last month of a key coalition partner left his Government teetering on the edge.

Navot Tel Zur at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem
Navot Tel Zur at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem

Police in February recommended indicting Mr Netanyahu in two other corruption investigations.

In a statement, police said the investigation concluded that Netanyahu and Elovitch engaged in a "bribe-based relationship".

Some analysts have said Netanyahu could call a snap vote in light of the legal proceedings against him.

"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 in a statement.

Netanyahu reiterated a phrase he has used since all the investigations against him were launched more than two years ago - "that there was nothing because there is nothing".

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The Israeli police have already recommended charging Netanyahu for bribery and breach of trust in Case 1000 and Case 2000.

It's up to the attorney general whether to indict.

Denying the charges today, Netanyahu said: "There was nothing because there is nothing".

If the indictment comes first, it is unclear how or if Netanyahu will be able to remain Prime Minister.

In exchange, Elovitch, a long-time friend of Netanyahu's, allegedly ordered the Walla News website to provide favorable coverage of the Israeli premier and his wife.

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Netanyahu served as communications minister from 2015 to 2017.

While Netanyahu was questioned as a witness and not a suspect in the submarine case, the accusations against his lawyer and others in the investigation have only added to the pressure the prime minister is facing.

Meanwhile, head of the Labor Party Avi Gabbay, who also leads the center-left political alliance of Zionist Union, echoed Livni's call. The White House is trying to build a coalition of Middle Eastern leaders to deter Iran, to that end encouraging the warming of relations between Israel and Arab states that outwardly shun it and sidelining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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