Israeli police will recommend that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is indicted on corruption charges, according to local media reports Wednesday.
Following a longstanding investigation, police will recommend the Israeli prime minister be indicted on charges including bribery, fraud and breach of trust, for allegedly accepting bribes and gifts from wealthy benefactors.
In a Facebook video Wednesday, the 68-year-old leader shrugged off the reports. He said that while the police would recommend that he be indicted, he predicted that Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit would decline to press charges.
"The State of Israel is a state of law. The law says that the one to determine whether there is evidence against the prime minister is the attorney general and he consults with the state attorney. The state prosecutor recently said in the Knesset that about half of the police's recommendations end with nothing," Netanyahu said.
"So don’t worry: There will be recommendations, there will be signs saying, 'Bibi is guilty until proven innocent,'" he said. "But I am sure that at the end of the day the competent legal bodies will come to the same conclusion, to the simple truth: There is nothing."
In a subsequent Facebook post, Netanyahu hit out at the investigation into his affairs, following a claim by Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich that private investigators had been hired to gather information on the officers involved in the case.
“It’s shocking to see that he is repeating the outlandish and false claim that [I] supposedly used private investigators against police officers,” wrote Netanyahu.
“Every decent person will ask himself: How can people who say such outlandish things regarding the prime minister then question him objectively and be impartial when it is time to reach a decision about him?”
Netanyahu is a suspect in two corruption investigations, known as Case 1000 and Case 2000. It’s in regard to the first, a probe into whether Netanyahu and his wife took lavish gifts in return for political favors, that police have recommended the Israeli leader be indicted, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
In the second case, looking into allegations that Netanyahu cut a deal with a newspaper publisher in exchange for positive coverage, police are not planning to present any recommendations, but leave it up to state prosecutors to decide instead, Channel 2 said.
Israeli police have declined to confirm the reports, saying only that the investigations were reaching their final conclusions.
Regardless of whether Mandelblit decides to press charges, the reports increase the political pressure on Netanyahu. According to a poll in December by Hadashot TV news, nearly two-thirds of Israelis – 63 percent – believe Netanyahu should resign if police were to recommend a fraud or breach of trust indictment.
Police have already recommended that Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, be indicted for misuse of funds.
Cover image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a meeting at Moscow's Jewish Center on January 29, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)