Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces bribery allegations

Israeli police have recommended that the Prime minister be indicted on charges of bribery and breach of trust • Netanyahu said he would continue to lead Israeli and branded the allegations 'baseless'

Israeli police have recommended that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted on charges of bribery and breach of trust, in an embarrassing blow that has thrown the prime minister’s political future in doubt.

A police statement said there was enough evidence to indict him for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in two separate cases.

The report follows a 14-month investigation into two cases of alleged corruption, the country’s attorney general will examine the evidence and then – possibly in several months’ time – decide whether to indict.

The Prime Minister hit back to such reports. Speaking on Israeli television, he branded the allegations "baseless" and pledged to continue as leader.

Netanyahu said he was certain that the truth would be revealed.

He said the allegations "will end with nothing".

"I will continue to lead Israel responsibly and faithfully for as long as you, the citizens of Israel, choose me to lead you," he said soon after the allegations came to light on Tuesday.

"I am certain that at the next elections, which will be held on schedule, I will earn your trust again, with God's help," he said.

Police have questioned Netanyahu several times at his official residence in Jerusalem during the past few months regarding the two cases in which he is a suspect.

The 68-year-old is in his second stint as prime minister, and has served in the role for a total of 12 years.

The allegations report that Netanyahu asked the publisher of an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, for positive coverage in exchange for help in reining in a rival publication.

Police said the editor of Yediot Aharonot, Arnon Mozes, should also face charges.

Another allegation centres on a claim that Netanyahu received gifts worth at least a million shekels (£204,000) from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and other supporters.

The Jerusalem Post says the gifts included champagne and cigars, and were given in exchange for help getting Milchan a US visa.

Milchan, the producer of films including Fight Club, Gone Girl and The Revenant, should face bribery charges, police said.

Police say Netanyahu is also suspected of fraud and breach of trust in a case involving Australian billionaire James Packer.

Israel's Channel 10 reported in December that Packer told investigators he gave the prime minister and his wife Sara gifts.

A final decision on whether Netanyahu should face charges will come down to the attorney general's office. A decision could take months to reach.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said any prime minister who has been charged should not be obliged to resign.

The next legislative elections are scheduled for November 2019.

More in World

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe