Israeli PM Netanyahu to be indicted in corruption cases, pending hearing – Justice Ministry

Thursday, February 28, 2019
By Paul Martin
28 Feb, 2019

Israeli Attorney General has decided to Benjamin Netanyahu on several corruption cases, Including bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. The Prime Minister will be given the chance to argue the indictment before charges are filed.
Netanuyahu is currently seeking a fourth consecutive term as PM, and denies any wrongdoing. His party, Likud, has called the charges “Political persecution.” WIth Israelis set to cast their votes in April, the indictment comes at a crucial time for Netanyahu.

With Israelis set to cast their votes in April, the indictment comes at a crucial time for Netanyahu. Before the charges were announced on Thursday, Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected a petition by Likud to block the announcement. The party’s legal adviser, Avi Halevy, accused Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s public revelation of the charges “unprecedented interference” in the upcoming election.

Whether the charges will actually be filed or not depends on the outcome of a hearing, which will more than likely take place after the April 9 election.

If the charges are filed, Netanyahu will have to answer to accusations that he took bribes from the controlling shareholder of Bezeq, the country’s largest telecommunications firm. He is also accused of taking gifts from multiple businessmen in exchange for political favors, and of plotting to weaken an opposition-linked newspaper in exchange for more positive coverage from another competing outlet.

With the election just over a month away, a Times of Israel poll found Likud trailing the centrist Blue and White political alliance, at 19 percent to 23 percent. Taken before Thursday’s announcement, the poll found that In the event of an indictment, Likud’s support falls to 15 percent, with Blue and White’s rising to 26.


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