Police recommend Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted for bribery


"I'm sure that in this case the relevant authorities, after examining the issue, will reach the same conclusion: that there was nothing because there is nothing", he said in a statement.

He argued in a statement that "these recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began".

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and claims he is the victim of a media witch hunt.

Mr Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing. In exchange, Netanyahu and his wife struck a deal with Elovitch, giving the Israeli prime minister favorable coverage on the Walla news site.

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".

In the two other cases where the police have recommended indictments, Netanyahu is also suspected of receiving bribes in exchange for favours.

While it is now up to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to formally prosecute those involved, the announcement ramps up pressure on Netanyahu, who faces a raft of legal woes.

Mr Netanyahu heads a fragile coalition, but he appears confident the allegations will not spur early elections.

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The police said they had found evidence that "Netanyahu and those close to him blatantly intervened, sometimes on a daily basis, in the content published on the Walla news website, and sought to influence the appointment of senior employees (editors and reporters), while using their ties to Shaul and [his wife] Iris Elovitch".

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.

Elections are now scheduled for November 2019.

The Bezeq case, known as Case 4000, is the most serious of all those of which Mr Netanyahu has been accused. Netanyahu holds a solid lead in all opinion polls, and a victory would make it more hard for Mandelblit to indict and potentially force out a newly re-elected leader.

Other opposition parties quickly joined in the call for Mr Netanyahu to resign.

According to a police statement, authorities found evidence of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust.

"He'll send a message to the attorney general that everyone knew about these three police reports and they still voted for him and want him in power", Hazan said.

Two key figures have turned state's witnesses in the case, including former media adviser to the Netanyahu family Nir Hefetz. Information leaked to the Israeli media suggested the agreement would have allowed the Prime Minister to receive more favourable coverage from the newspaper if he agreed to weaken the status of rival daily newspaper Israel Hayom, owned by U.S. casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.