Police recommend Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted


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TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed he would be vindicated Tuesday moments after police recommended that he be indicted on charges of corruption and bribery.

“This will end in nothing,” a defiant Netanyahu declared after police made the announcement.

A police spokesman, however, said their case against the longtime Israeli leader is solid and based on — among other things — interviews with some 80 witnesses.

They charge that from 2007 to 2016 Netanyahu and his family received cigars, champagne and jewelry worth “hundreds of thousands of shekels” from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and other supporters.

In return, Netanyahu pushed for the so-called Milchan Law, which ensures that Israelis who return to live in Israel from abroad are exempt from paying taxes for 10 years.

“The findings of the investigation revealed that the relationship between the prime minister and Mr. Milchan was a bribery relationship that amounted to a criminal offense and not an innocent relationship between friends,” the police spokesman said.

“Bibi,” as he is known, is also accused of working out a deal for favorable coverage with Arnon “Noni” Moses, the publisher of an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, in exchange for backing a bill that would weaken a rival newspaper.

Now that police have made the recommendation, the decision on whether to indict Netanyahu rests ultimately with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. Both Milchan and Moses also face possible bribery charges, the police spokesman said.

Mandelblit, 54, is Netanyahu’s former cabinet secretary and has already rebuffed calls to recuse himself from this case.




Image: Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow on Jan. 29, 2018.