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Netanyahu indicted on a raft of corruption charges: the end of King Bibi?

Friday, November 22nd 2019 - 09:43 UTC
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 Right-winger Netanyahu, who is nicknamed “Mr. Security” and “King Bibi” and has been in power since 2009, is Israel's longest-serving prime minister Right-winger Netanyahu, who is nicknamed “Mr. Security” and “King Bibi” and has been in power since 2009, is Israel's longest-serving prime minister
The indictment comes as Israel faces a potential third election in a year, with neither Netanyahu nor his main rival able to form a government after two elections The indictment comes as Israel faces a potential third election in a year, with neither Netanyahu nor his main rival able to form a government after two elections
A close ally of US President Donald Trump, the 70-year-old may now ask the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, to grant him immunity from prosecution.
A close ally of US President Donald Trump, the 70-year-old may now ask the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, to grant him immunity from prosecution.

Israel's embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on a range of corruption charges on Thursday, potentially spelling an end to his decades-long political career.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit “decided to file charges against the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for offences of receiving a bribe, fraud, and breach of trust,” a justice ministry statement said.

Netanyahu, who strongly denies all the charges, becomes the first Israeli prime minister to be indicted while in office.

Right-winger Netanyahu, who is nicknamed “Mr. Security” and “King Bibi” and has been in power since 2009, is Israel's longest-serving prime minister and dominates the country's political scene.

The indictment comes as Israel faces a potential third election in a year, with neither Netanyahu nor his main rival able to form a government after two deadlocked elections.

Netanyahu is not legally required to resign until he is convicted and all appeals are exhausted, but political pressure is likely to be intense.

A close ally of US President Donald Trump, the 70-year-old may now ask the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, to grant him immunity from prosecution.

The charges against him range from receiving gifts worth thousands of dollars to a deal to change regulatory frameworks in favor of a media group in exchange for positive coverage.

Mandelblit said it was a “hard and sad day” for Israel to indict a leader but it was an “important” one as it showed no Israeli was above the law.

“The citizens of Israel, all of us, and myself, look up to the elected officials, and first and foremost - to the prime minister,” Mandelblit said.

He said the decision had been made with a “heavy heart, but also with a whole heart.”

Netanyahu has vehemently denied all the allegations, calling the corruption investigation a “witch-hunt” and alleging it has been motivated by his enemies' desire to force him from office.

Of the three cases against Netanyahu, the third, known as Case 4,000, is seen as the most serious.

He is alleged to have negotiated with Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq, to get positive coverage on his Walla! news site in exchange for policies benefiting Bezeq.

Categories: Politics, International.

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