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Israeli police recommend corruption charges for Netanyahu

The recommendations follow a months-long investigation

by Alexa Liautaud
Feb 13 2018, 8:14pm

Israel police officially recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu on bribery and fraud charges Tuesday, following a months-long investigation into two separate cases of alleged corruption.

The investigation, dubbed Case 1000 and Case 2000, accuses the 68-year-old Israeli leader of using his position as Prime Minister to earn favors worth 1 million shekels ($282,790). In one case, Netanyahu is alleged to have accepted lavish gifts like cigars and champagne from wealthy supporters in a suspected quid-pro-quo exchange.

In another case, Netanyahu stands accused of offering a newspaper publisher a deal in which he would pass legislation to curb the circulation of a competitor in exchange for more favorable coverage.

"Police have concluded is that there is sufficient evidence against the prime minister on suspicions for the offense of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust," a police spokesman said in a statement obtained by NBC News.

Netanyahu, who’s been in power for nearly a decade, has repeatedly lashed out at the police over the course of the investigation. And in the days leading up to the announcement, the Israeli leader took to his Facebook page to call the allegations “baseless.”

Netanyahu has overcome previous recommendations by Israeli police to indict him, and appears confident he will do so again.

"There will be recommendations, there will be signs saying, 'Bibi is guilty until proven innocent,'" Netanyahu said in a Facebook video last week. "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."

The country now awaits the recommendation of the attorney general Avichai Mandelblit, who will ultimately decide whether to press formal charges.