Israeli Police recommend bribery charges against Netanyahu & wife

Police say there is enough evidence to charge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara

Police say there is enough evidence to charge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Credit AP

Authorities claimed on Sunday that Netanyahu gave favourable contracts to Bezeq Telecom in exchange for better coverage of the prime minister and his wife on its news website.

"I am sure that also in this case the relevant authorities, after examining the matter, will reach the same conclusion - that there was nothing because there is nothing", he said.

They accuse the prime minister and Bezeq boss Shaul Elovitch, who they also recommend be charged, as having shared a "bribe-based relationship" which saw Mr Netanyahu and his associates intervene in news coverage on an nearly daily basis.

Responding to the latest allegations, Mr Netanyahu tweeted: "These recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began".

The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing.

Police are also recommending that charges be brought against Netanyahu's wife, Sara, who has been at the centre of much of the corruption allegations surrounding the longtime Israeli leader.

Former journalists at the Walla news site have attested to being pressured to refrain from negative reporting of Netanyahu.

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

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They are also recommending charges be brought against Mr Elovitch and members of his family. The country's attorney general is now expected to decide the next step.

Shortly after the police recommendations were made public, Netanyahu issued a statement saying that the allegations had no legal basis and that ultimately nothing would come of the investigation.

Netanyahu's colleagues in the ruling Likud party have lined up behind up, attacking outgoing Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh for releasing the recommendation on his last day on the job.

The next legislative poll is scheduled for November 2019.

The case, known as Case 4000, is one of the largest facing the Israeli leader and his inner circle.

However, he may want to seek a renewed mandate from the people to force a prosecutor to think twice before indicting him. In return, the police said, Mr. Netanyahu, who personally oversaw the communications ministry from 2014 to 2017, rewarded Bezeq with enormously lucrative concessions, including approval of its merger with Yes, a satellite television company, despite the objections of lower-level ministry officials.

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

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