Netanyahu corruption charges: decision is expected today

Netanyahu corruption charges: decision is expected today

Netanyahu corruption charges: decision is expected today

Case 1000 involves gifts from foreign billionaires in return for favours, while Case 2000 alleges that Netanyahu colluded with one newspaper to hamstring a competitor in return for favourable coverage.

The reported decision deepens uncertainty over his prospects in a tight election race. Netanyahu quickly faced calls to immediately step aside while he deals with the distraction of trying to clear his name.

His voice brimming with indignation as he addressed the nation during prime-time TV news, Netanyahu dismissed the three criminal cases as a political "witch-hunt" created to oust him. "Don't let this witch hunt affect you".

He will also charge Netanyahu with fraud and breach of trust in two other cases.

Netanyahu was not formally charged.

Tomer Naor of the Movement for Quality Government, a watchdog group, said the hearing process could take about a year.

This would be the first time an Israeli Prime Minister has faced criminal charges while in office.

Netanyahu has been dogged by scandals for much of his career.

He said Israel could not afford to have a "part-time prime minister".

"Technically he might be able to carry on despite an indictment, but politically it would be untenable and would create such a political crisis that I don't think it will fly", Emmanuel Navon, a senior fellow at the conservative Kohelet Policy Forum, said in a podcast on Wednesday.

Most importantly, might Netanyahu at some point need to resign?

The agreement to form the alliance under the name Blue and White - the colours of the Israeli flag - has shaken up the campaign.

Mr Netanyahu has said the legislation concerning Israel Hayom never passed, and that he dissolved his governing coalition in 2015 because of his opposition to it.

Netanyahu is also accused of using his connections to Adelson, the US casino magnate and an ally of the Israeli leader, to push a newspaper owner for more favorable coverage of his government.

Netanyahu appears determined to become Israel's longest serving prime minister, and he recently struck a deal with the far-right in order to compete against a recently formed centrist coalition. Netanyahu has been prime minister since 2009 and served a previous term between 1996 and 1999.

Mandelblit has been studying three different corruption cases and has outlined them in a 58-page document sent to Netanyahu's lawyers.

His right-wing Likud party earlier Thursday had joined a petition filed with the supreme court to stop Mandelblit from announcing his decision before the elections.

In the most serious case, Netanyahu is suspected of firing Israel's communications ministry director in exchange for favorable coverage from Walla!

Ze'ev Rubinstein, a confidant of the Netanyahus, will be charged with bribery.

Mr Netanyahu has insisted they were merely tokens of friendship and that he did not act inappropriately in exchange for them. Police have said their investigation concluded that Netanyahu and Elovitch engaged in a "bribe-based relationship".

He faces charges of bribery and breach of trust.

Netanyahu is accused of taking about 1 million shekels ($390,000) worth of items such as cigars and champagne from wealthy friends including Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian businessman James Packer.

At that hearing - which could take place after the April 9 election - Mr Netanyahu can try to persuade Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit not to indict him.

President Donald Trump, with whom Mr Netanyahu has forged a close connection, offered the Israeli leader a boost ahead of the expected announcement.

The Post has learned that Mandelblit would not push for the prime minister to step down. "He's tough, he's smart, he's strong", Trump said. "But this will probably not happen", he said.

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