Israeli Police Recommend Corruption Indictment For Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu Should Be Charged With Corruption Say Israeli Police

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu released a Facebook video telling his supporters not to worry

Israeli Police have recommended indicting their nation's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bribery charges, following a year-long investigation that included allegations of fraud involving prominent Australian businessman James Packer.

Addressing the people soon after the Israeli Police announced its reports, Benjamin Netanyahu said, "I'm sure that the truth will come to light, and I'm sure that also in the next elections, I will once again win your loyalty, with the grace of God".

In a statement, Israeli police said Mr Netanyahu had helped Mr Milchan with United States visa matters, by legislating a tax break and connecting him with an Indian businessman.

The police recommendations will now go to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who will have to decide whether to indict Netanyahu on any or all of the suggested charges.

Just minutes after the recommendations were made, Netanyahu appeared in a live broadcast in which he claimed that he had never sought personal gain during his services as prime minister. Cabinet Minister Miri Regev said she was "not excited" by the police recommendations and urged patience while the attorney general reviews the case.

Netanyahu's longtime rival, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, called the alleged corruption "horrifying".

In Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are alleged to have received illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, including hundreds of thousands of shekels' worth of cigars and champagne from the Milchan. In one probe, Netanyahu reportedly received over $100,000 in gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and other wealthy supporters.

A BIG TAX BREAK Mr. Netanyahu tried to pass legislation that would double, to 20 years, the duration of a tax exemption for Israelis returning to the country from overseas, which would have "vast financial value to Milchan".

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In the immediate aftermath of the police announcement, reactions quickly fell along partisan lines.

Police have previously recommended charges be brought against Netanyahu, but there was ultimately no indictment.

On Tuesday night, Israel's Channel 10 television quoted a lawyer for Milchan as saying that occasional gift-giving was devoid of any business interests. "It is impossible to shake off the impression that they were influenced by the baseless feelings of investigative elements who believe that I acted against them, that I sent a female police officer to complain about sexual harassment by the head of the unit that was investigating me; that I initiated surveillance against police investigators; that I had been running someone in London against the investigators".

Police issued their recommendations Tuesday for the Israeli leader's indictment in two lengthy corruption investigations, known as cases 1000 and 2000.

Mr Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing.

Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay said that "the Netanyahu era is over, either at the ballot box or through investigations".

Recordings recently emerged of his wife, Sara, screaming at an aide, while separate recordings caught his eldest son, Yair, on a drunken night out at a series of Tel Aviv strip clubs while travelling around in a taxpayer-funded government auto with a government-funded bodyguard.

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