Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu Facing Bribery, Fraud Charges

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu Facing Bribery, Fraud Charges

After the month-long investigation, the police handed over their recommendation to Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who will decide whether to press charges against the prime minister.

In addition to Netanyahu, Israeli police also recommended indictments for Hollywood film producer Arnon Milchan, who allegedly bribed the prime minister.

In another case, Netanyahu is accused of attempting to weaken the conservative newspaper Israel Hayom in exchange for receiving favorable coverage from its rival, Israel Hayom. Additionally, the police also recommended that Yediot Acharonot publisher Arnon Mozes (involved in file 2000) and Arnon Milchin (File 1000) be tried for charges of fraud and bribery.

In a televised address, Mr Netanyahu denied any wrongdoing and said he would "continue to lead Israel responsibly and faithfully".

"I can say that I have been talking to the Americans about it for some time", Netanyahu told a meeting of the Likud political party, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The prime minister called the allegations baseless and said he would complete his fourth term in office.

"In the wake of the investigation of Case 1000, the police approached me and asked me to provide testimony about my time at the Finance Ministry".

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Responding generally to the police recommendations, Lapid said: "Even if the letter of the law doesn't obligate the prime minister to resign, in a proper country a person accused of such serious allegations... can not continue to serve as prime minister". When Lapid said he had, but that he had reservations over the legislation, Netanyahu responded that he thought it was "a good law", the TV report said.

While an indictment alone would not legally force Netanyahu to step down, he would likely face mounting pressure to do so from fellow lawmakers and the public.

Netanyahu said he has been in talks with the Trump administration "for some time" over a move to annex illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. He defended his integrity even before police levelled the official charges against him.

Netanyahu "did not present the United States with specific annexation proposals, and in any case the United States did not give its consent to the proposals", an Israeli official said on condition of anonymity.

Fuchs argued that police should not publish a recommendation in cases where the prime minister is a suspect.

Speaking at the same conference as Bennett, Netanyahu once again punched back at the allegations Wednesday, labeling the police report as a "radical and biased document with holes like Swiss cheese".

Like Bennett, other coalition partners have also stressed they will await the attorney general's decision on whether to formally indict Netanyahu before reconsidering their positions in the government.

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