Israeli PM Netanyahu's legal troubles mount as police seek new bribery charges

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Now, the Israeli attorney general should decide whether to bring indictments in the case.

Police say the investigation, which included the evidence of 60 witnesses, revealed that Mr Netanyahu and Bezeq boss Shaul Elovitch engaged in a "bribe-based relationship".

If true, this would constitute bribery, as Netanyahu worked to set government policies that would increase monetary profits in exchange for positive media coverage.

Mr Netanyahu, who has led Israel for four terms, has denied any wrongdoing.

Despite his dominance of Israeli politics, the newest police recommendation comes just after his right-wing coalition's majority was reduced to a precarious one seat in Parliament.

Netanyahu has denied all charges of corruption, claiming "these recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began".

Mr Netanyahu said in a statement that police recommendations against him have no legal basis.

Police in February recommended indicting the prime minister in two other corruption investigations. Elovitch, in return, ordered Bezeq Group's Walla news to provide favourable coverage for Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu.

Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni
Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni

"The main suspicion is that the prime minister took bribes and acted in a conflict of interest by intervening and making regulatory decision (s) that favour Shaul Elovitch and Bezeq, and in parallel demanded directly and indirectly to interfere with content of the Walla website in a way that would benefit him", the statement said.

Police are also recommending charges be brought against Elovitch and members of his family.

Netanyahu is suspected of having received luxury gifts from businessmen overseas in Case 1000. They also said he should be indicted for influence-peddling after discussing a deal with powerful newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes to push through legislation that would hurt a rival daily in exchange for good coverage.

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

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

The other is Mr Shlomo Filber, a Netanyahu ally for more than 20 years and former director general of the communications ministry.

"A prime minister with so many corruption cases around him can not continue at his job and must resign", Gabbay tweeted.

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

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