Prime minister to be indicted for 'bribery, fraud'

Prime minister to be indicted for 'bribery, fraud'

Prime minister to be indicted for 'bribery, fraud'

In the other two cases, Mandelblit bucked the recommendations of the state prosecutor's office and police to charge Netanyahu with bribery, Israeli media reported.

The prime minister also posted an animated video in which a voiceover calls the investigations a "house of cards" and rebuts accusations against him. The first involves accepting gifts from billionaire friends and the second revolves around alleged offers of advantageous legislation for a major newspaper in return for favorable coverage.

The indictment, only weeks before he runs for a fourth consecutive term April elections, will be followed by a hearing where Netanyahu could defend himself before charges are filed.

Mr Netanyahu scheduled a press conference later on Thursday to respond to the attorney general's decision.

This is a breaking news update.

Israel's attorney general says he has chose to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a series of corruption charges. Some commentators say he may be seeking an election win as leverage while negotiating a plea deal with the attorney general. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement.

Mandelblit did not accept the police position that recommended indicting Netanyahu on bribery in this case, limiting the case to breach of trust only.

Some analysts are portraying the proposed indictment as the beginning of the end for Me Netanyahu.

At that hearing - which could take place after the April 9 election - Netanyahu can try to persuade the attorney-general, Avichai Mandelblit, not to indict him.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem January 13, 2019.

He calls the investigations a bid by his political enemies to force him from office. He has vowed to carry on and is deadlocked in the polls, 40 days before Israelis go to vote.

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Mr Mandelblit has said the Supreme Court will determine whether he must resign. But the court rejected the request Thursday afternoon, potentially clearing the way for an announcement from the attorney general.

Benjamin Netanyahu is the dominant Israeli politician of his generation.

Meanwhile, Mandelblit has said he meant to charge the premier pending a hearing, where Netanyahu would be given a chance to defend himself before charges are filed.

"I intend to serve you and the country as prime minister for many more years".

In his statement on Thursday, the prime minister touted what he has achieved for the country: noting the strong economy and ties with world powers that he has cultivated over the last decade.

US President Donald Trump, asked about Mr Netanyahu's legal troubles, voiced support for the right-wing leader. "Therefore, as far as we are concerned, the prime minister is entitled to run in the Knesset elections like any other candidate".

"The most serious allegations against Netanyahu involve his relationship with Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Israel's telecom giant Bezeq".

In one case, he is accused of pursuing regulatory benefits allegedly granted to telecommunications firm Bezeq in exchange for positive coverage from a related media company.

He also faces fraud and breach of trust charges in that case.

Mandelblit has been studying three different corruption cases and has outlined them in a 58-page document sent to Netanyahu's lawyers.

Supporters admire his articulate and tenacious defence of Israel's security, and diplomatic achievements that eluded predecessors, including the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem a year ago.

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