Israeli police recommend Benjamin Netanyahu face bribery prosecution

Police said they found sufficient evidence that confidants of Netanyahu promoted regulatory changes worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Bezeq.

"I am certain that the authorized officials, after considering the matters, will reach the same conclusion in this case as well - that there was nothing because there is nothing", Netanyahu further said on Sunday.

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

Mr Netanyahu immediately rejected the accusations, but the three cases against him have led to speculation that they could eventually force the long-serving prime minister to step down.

Both Netanyahu and his wife have been hounded by corruption allegations.

In one, allegations against Netanyahu include seeking a secret deal with the publisher of Israel's top-selling newspaper Yediot Aharonot to ensure positive coverage in return for pushing forward a law that would have limited the circulation of a rival.

Police say there is enough evidence to charge Elovitch with bribery, interfering with an investigation, and financial crimes.

The other coalition partners have previously deferred bolting, saying they would await a formal decision by Israel's attorney general to press charges.

Netanyahu last month was almost forced to call elections after a key partner withdrew from his coalition to protest a cease-fire with the Hamas militant group in Gaza.

Between 2012 and 2017, the police said, Mr. Netanyahu "intervened in a blatant and ongoing manner, and sometimes even daily", in coverage at Walla, a news website owned by [telecommunications company] Bezeq, ensuring "flattering articles and pictures" were published and "removing critical content" about him and his family.

This is the third such police recommendation against Netanyahu in recent months. The next national election is not due until November 2019. Netanyahu holds a solid lead in all opinion polls, and a victory would make it more hard for Mandelblit to indict and potentially force out a newly re-elected leader. Mr Netanyahu is in his second stint as prime minister.

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

The Bezeq case, known as Case 4000, is the most serious of which Netanyahu has been accused.

Two senior advisers have turned state witnesses and have allegedly provided authorities with incriminating evidence.

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

Mr Netanyahu held the government's communications portfolio until past year and oversaw regulation in the field.

Other opposition figures, including opposition leader Tzipi Livni, quickly joined in the call for Netanyahu to resign.

  • Rogelio Becker