Israelian police on Sunday recommended that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be charged with a third corruption case that could lead to the fall of the head of government, led by a weak majority in recent weeks.
It is now up to the Attorney General to decide whether or not to indict the Prime Minister and his wife Sara for accepting “bribes”, “fraud” and “breach of trust”. Police also recommend Ms.Netanyahu’s indictment for “obstruction” of justice.
The head of government immediately proclaimed his innocence again.
“I’am sure that in this case the competent authorities, having examined the question, will come to the same conclusion: that there was nothing because there is nothing”, he reiterated in a statement.
The couple is believed to have tried to secure favorable coverage from the Walla news site in exchange for government favors that could have brought hundreds of millions of dollars to Shaul Elovich, who was boss of both the main Israeli telecommunications group Bezek and Walla.
Between 2012 and 2017, Mr.Netanyahu and his entourage “intervened on the content published by the news website Walla and sought to influence the appointment of people” in order to “publish articles and photos flattering, removing the content criticizing the prime minister and his family”, the police said in a statement.
The police are recommending that Shaul Elovich, including his wife Iris, and two other people be indicted, including a businessman and a senior official in Bezek. The investigators also called for charges of fraud and breach of trust by the son of the Elovitch couple, and Stella Handler, former CEO of Bezek.
Nir Hefetz, the former prime minister’s media advisor, and Shlomo Filber, a close associate of Netanyahu whom he had appointed director-general of the Ministry of Communications, reached an agreement with the investigators to testify against those involved in the case. in exchange for a reduced sentence.
All of these recommendations were made public as police chief Roni Alsheikh stepped down after being harshly criticized by Netanyahu.
The police had already recommended Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment in two other corruption cases in February. He has been heard more than a dozen times as a suspect or witness in various cases.
The Likud ministers (right), Netanyahu’s party, expressed their support for the head of the government. “Thank you very much but you have to take it much more seriously than I do,” he told them at the weekly Council of Ministers.