Netanyahu Claims Innocence as Police to Recommend Corruption Indictment

Netanyahu Claims Innocence as Police to Recommend Corruption Indictment

Tuesday, 13 February, 2018 - 19:30
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintained his innocence on Tuesday as police moved to indict him on corruption charges in a long-running probe.

Netanyahu confirmed police were recommending his indictment and proclaimed his innocence in an address to the nation after the news broke.

"I will continue to lead Israel responsibly and faithfully", he said.

He said his lengthy political career has been solely "for the good of the nation."

He accused police of being on a witch hunt against him and vowed to remain in office. He wrapped up by vowing to stay in office and run for re-election.

Police said they were recommending Netanyahu's indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of public trust following long-running investigations into two cases of alleged corruption.

Police issued a statement describing the recommendations, which will now go to the attorney general, who is expected to take weeks or months to decide how to move forward.

Netanyahu, who has repeatedly said he has done nothing wrong, is not expected to resign.

A prime minister who is facing such police recommendations or who has been formally charged with offences is not obliged to resign.

Various Israeli media reported that police had informed Netanyahu's lawyers that they were recommending his indictment in both corruption cases involving him that they have been investigating.

Police have been investigating Netanyahu over suspicions that he received expensive gifts, including pricey cigars, from wealthy supporters such as Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.

His wife allegedly received bottles of pink champagne.

The gifts were reportedly worth some tens of thousands of dollars.

Police have also been probing allegations that Netanyahu sought a secret deal for favorable coverage with the publisher of top-selling newspaper Yediot Aharonot.

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