Police recommend corruption charges against Netanyahu
Israeli police recommended Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted for bribery and breach of trust in connection with two long-running corruption cases.
A defiant Bibi responded to the recommendations — which now rest with Israel’s attorney general — by saying they “will end with nothing.”
He vowed to remain in office.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has said that a prime minister who has been charged with wrongdoing is not required to resign, but the deeply embarrassing recommendations could spark calls for Netanyahu to step down.
Police have been investigating the two cases — dubbed “Case 1000” and “Case 2000” — for the past 14 months.
In the first probe, known as the “gifts affair,” Netanyahu allegedly received more than $100,000 worth of gifts, including cigars and top-shelf champagne, from Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and other wealthy benefactors in return for advancing their interests.
Police said that in return for the gifts, Netanyahu pushed for the so-called Milchan Law, which slashes taxes for Israelis returning to their country after spending time abroad.
According to authorities, Netanyahu acted “against public interests.”
In 2014, Netanyahu also asked then-Secretary of State John Kerry three times to intervene on behalf of Milchan for a long-term visa allowing him to live in the US, the Times of Israel reported.
Milchan, 73, eventually received a 10-year visa after plying Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, with gifts over many years, according to the paper.
In their recommendation Tuesday, police called for Milchan — who has been a producer on such hits as “Fight Club,” “Pretty Woman” and “12 Years a Slave” — to face criminal charges, Haaretz reported.The other case involves a deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have provided the prime minister with positive coverage in exchange for support of a bill to weaken Israel Hayom, the largest-circulation Hebrew paper.
Police also recommended indicting Mozes in the corruption case.
Netanyahu has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and railed against authorities Tuesday.
“These recommendations mean nothing in a democratic society,” Netanayhu said.
He said that everything he did was for the sake of the country — “not for cigars from friends and not for better media coverage.”
“Nothing will have sway and nothing will sway me, not even the incessant attacks against me,” he said.
Milchan’s defense team said the bribery charge “would not stand,” Israeli TV reported.