Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Wednesday for an inquiry into the investigators who brought corruption charges against him, in a move that critics said was an attempt to distract from his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters reports.
Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, opposition lawmakers have also accused Netanyahu of trying to discredit Israel’s criminal justice system while he is on trial for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. He denies any wrongdoing.
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 9, 2020
Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and allies voiced anger this week after Israel’s Channel 12 News reported that police and prosecutors had failed to disclose alleged conflicts of interest by an investigator involved in the cases against him.
“It is clear that the police and prosecution are making political decisions against justice and law in order to topple a right-wing prime minister,” Netanyahu said at the start of a Likud meeting on Wednesday evening.
“This conduct must be investigated,” said Netanyahu, who has consistently accused police and prosecutors of bias against him.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) July 19, 2020
A spokesman for Israel’s State Attorney Office declined to comment on the Channel 12 report or Netanyahu’s remarks.
Netanyahu was indicted in November in cases involving gifts from millionaire friends and for allegedly seeking regulatory favors for media tycoons in return for favorable coverage.
Bribery charges carry a sentence of up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine. Fraud and breach of trust carry a prison sentence of up to three years.
(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)