Police recommend charges against Benjamin Netanyahu

15 February, 2018, 01:57 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Zionist Union party Avi Gabbay seen during a faction meeting at the Israeli parliament

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing in both cases filed by police.

Netanyahu was critical of the police in his remarks on Wednesday, as he has been for months.

Almost all of Netanyahu's Cabinet ministers issued statements of support and no coalition partners appeared ready to bolt.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) slammed the opposition's call for early elections, saying that they are acting with zero restraint and "have forgotten the Prime Minister's presumption of innocence".

While ministers and mayors are required to resign if indicted, Israeli law is less clear when it comes to the prime minister.

In Israel it is common for agents to make public ir findings and ir recommendations for imputation before transferring m to attorney General and judiciary, who are ones who ultimately formulate accusations and prosecution, if any. Netanyahu can remain in office during that process, which is expected to drag on for months.

"I can reassure you that the coalition is stable", he said. "I am certain, as I have always been certain, and nothing has changed, that the truth will come to light and nothing will come of this". "And I am sure that also in the next election that will take place on time I will win your trust again, with God's help".

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Case 1000, known as the "gifts affair", involves claims that he and his family received valuable gifts from global billionaires, including pink champagne, expensive cigars and jewellery for his wife.

The gifts were reportedly worth some tens of thousands of dollars. Police said in return, Netanyahu allegedly provided assistance with visa matters and suggested legislation that would exempt Israelis returning from overseas from paying taxes for 10 years.

Milchan or New Regency Productions, a Hollywood movie studio he founded and chairs, have produced more than 100 films, including recent Oscar best picture winners "12 Years a Slave", "Birdman", and "The Revenant".

Even in the case of an indictment, Netanyahu may not step down from power.

Key members of Netanyahu's Likud Party pointed to this as proof that the investigation was politically motivated and Amsalem angrily called Lapid a "snitch". "Like any law-abiding citizen, I gave them a short testimony, which touched on the attempt to extend the "Milchan Law" (on tax exemptions) to 20 years", Lapid declared.

In a statement, Lapid said Tuesday that "police asked me to testify in Case 1000, and like any good citizen I responded".

He said the police report "misleads" and is "contrary to the truth and logic". His lawyer, Amit Hadad, told Israel Radio on Wednesday that the police's claims against his client were false.

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Hadad says Netanyahu "didn't receive bribes at all".

Milchan, a supporter of Netanyahu, wanted the Prime Minister's help in getting him a USA visa.

The second investigation - "Case 2000" - involves suspicions that Netanyahu sought a secret deal for favourable coverage with the publisher of top-selling newspaper Yediot Aharonot, which the premier has regularly accused of being biased against him.

"A police recommendation can help convince the prosecutors, simply due to the fact that the recommendation is based on the evidence in the case, and that's what the prosecutors will look at", he said.

Channel 10 TV read a statement that it said came from Mr Milchan's "defence team" saying the bribery charge would not stand.

There was no immediate reaction from Netanyahu, who has been prime minister for a total of almost 12 years, and police declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

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