Feb. 13 (UPI) — Israeli police recommended that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be indicted in two corruption cases.
The police sent a recommendation to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that they are in “unanimous agreement” that Netanyahu accepted bribes and illicit gifts. They said he acted “against public interests.”
It’s up to Mandelblit whether there is enough evidence to prosecute Netanyahu.
During an televised address Tuesday night, Netanyahu vowed to “continue to lead Israel responsibly and faithfully.”
“These recommendations mean nothing in a democratic society,” Netanayhu said.
Netanyahu previously has said about the investigation, “there will be nothing, because there is nothing.”
Netanyahu and his wife are accused of accepting expensive cigars, champagne and other gifts valued at $280,000 from wealthy friends in exchange for advancing their interests. That reportedly included gifts from the Israeli-American Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.
In another case, Netanyahu is accused of attempting to weaken the conservative newspaper Israel Hayom in exchange for receiving favorable coverage from its rival, Israel Hayom.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu said everything he did was for the sake of the country, “not for cigars from friends and not for better media coverage.”
Netanyahu, 68, would be the first sitting prime minister to be indicted, but former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, was convicted of breach of trust in 2012 after leaving office in 2009. He was sentenced to six years in prison and sentence was later reduced to 18 months. Moshe Katsav was convicted of rape and obstruction of justice after serving as president.
Netanyahu was prime minister from 1996 to 1999 and returned in March 2009, succeeding Olmert. His tenure of nearly 12 years in the office is the longest in the nation’s history.