Israeli police recommend Netanyahu and his wife be charged with corruption

Sara and Benjamin Netahyahu face bribery indictment

Israeli police have recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara for alleged fraud and bribery.

In exchange, Elovitch, a long-time friend of Netanyahu's, allegedly ordered the Walla News website to provide favorable coverage of the Israeli premier and his wife.

The decision on whether to charge Netanyahu rests with Israel's attorney-general, who is still weighing whether to indict the prime minister in the other two cases.

Police say the investigation, which included the testimony of 60 witnesses, revealed that Netanyahu and Bezeq boss Shaul Elovitch engaged in a "bribe-based relationship".

"I'm sure that in this case the relevant authorities, after examining the issue, will reach the same conclusion: that there was nothing because there is nothing".

The Bezeq case, known as Case 4000, is the most serious of all those of which Mr Netanyahu has been accused.

Journalists who previously worked for Walla have confirmed that they were pressured into exclusively covering Netanyahu in a positive light.

Investigators said Netanyahu should stand trial on charges of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust and fraudulently accepting benefits.

Two of his top confidants have turned state witnesses and are believed to have provided police with incriminating evidence. Netanyahu held the government's communications portfolio until a year ago and oversaw regulation in the field.

If true, this would constitute bribery, as Netanyahu worked to set government policies that would increase monetary profits in exchange for positive media coverage.

Police said Sunday their investigation found that between 2012 and 2017, "the prime minister and his confidantes crudely and consistently, at times on a daily basis, intervened in the content published by the Walla news website".

The three cases involving the long-serving premier have led to speculation over whether he will eventually have to step down.

Police say there is enough evidence to charge Elovitch with bribery, interfering with an investigation, and financial crimes.

In the second case, Mr Netanyahu is suspected of receiving gifts worth at least a million shekels ($270,000; £210,000) from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and other supporters. Mr Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.

The other coalition partners have previously deferred bolting, saying they would await a formal decision by Israel's attorney general to press charges.

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