Israel’s attorney general said on Thursday he intends to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in one case of bribe and two cases of fraud and breach of trust.
Netanyahu responded in a televised address saying that the corruption charges against him will collapse “like a house of cards”.
He said intends to continue as prime minister “for many more years”.
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) February 28, 2019
The long-awaited announcement marks the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been put on official notice of planned prosecution and deepens uncertainty over his prospects in a tight election race.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said in a statement that he intended to charge the Israeli leader pending a hearing, where Netanyahu would be given a chance to defend himself before charges are filed.
Now it's official. The Israeli prime minster @netanyahu is suspected of bribery and corruption.
Enough for corruption. Enough for occupation and Apartheid. Enough of his friend Trump. pic.twitter.com/LN1mwKTyeK
— Issa Amro عيسى عمرو 🇵🇸 (@Issaamro) February 28, 2019
The required hearing will likely be after the April 9 election.
The prime minister on Thursday called the allegations a politically motivated “witch hunt” to hurt his re-election prospects.
Netanyahu is facing a tough challenge from a centrist political alliance headed by a respected former military chief of staff, Benny Gantz.
Here's a look at the 4 corruption scandals that have been linked to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. pic.twitter.com/9vDLrjSajk
— AJ+ (@ajplus) February 28, 2019
Allegations against Netanyahu include seeking a secret deal with the publisher of Israel’s top-selling newspaper Yediot Aharonot to ensure positive coverage in return for pushing forward a law that would have limited the circulation of a rival publication.
Another probe involves suspicions the premier and his family received luxury presents from wealthy individuals in exchange for financial or personal favors.
Netanyahu, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term, denies any wrongdoing and in January said he would not resign even if indicted.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)