Israel police recommends PM Netanyahu be charged with bribery

Israel police recommends PM Netanyahu be charged with bribery

Mr Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.

Israel's attorney general has not yet decided whether to prosecute Netanyahu over the allegations.

He then echoed American President Donald Trump by adding, "The witch hunt against us continues".

The case revolves around suspicions that confidants of Netanyahu promoted regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bezeq telecom company in exchange for positive coverage of the prime minister on Bezeq's news website, Walla.

They are suspected of awarding regulatory favours to the Bezeq telecom firm in return for positive media coverage of the couple.

Police also said there is enough evidence to charge the Israeli leader's wife, Sara Netanyahu, with fraud, receiving bribes, and interfering with an investigation.

Police are also recommending charges be brought against Elovitch and members of his family.

The decision on whether to charge Netanyahu rests with Israel's attorney-general, who is still weighing whether to indict the prime minister in the other two cases.

The prime minister has argued that he is the victim of a left-wing and media conspiracy to topple his conservative government.

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He argued in a statement that "these recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began". "The police recommendations have no legal standing".

That decision will have a great impact on Netanyahu's future. Information leaked to the Israeli media suggested the agreement would have allowed the Prime Minister to receive more favourable coverage from the newspaper if he agreed to weaken the status of rival daily newspaper Israel Hayom, owned by United States casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. But at the minimum, a trial would put great pressure on Netanyahu, who has been in office for almost a decade, to step aside.

The next legislative poll is scheduled for November 2019.

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. Netanyahu now leads a coalition with a razor-thin 61 seat majority in the 120-seat parliament.

Mandelblit's office has not said when he will issue his decision. "Elections now!" she said.

However, he may want to seek a renewed mandate from the people to force a prosecutor to think twice before indicting him.

The case, known as Case 4000, is one of the largest facing the Israeli leader and his inner circle. Former journalists at the Walla news site have attested to being pressured to refrain from negative reporting of Netanyahu.

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

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

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