Less than six weeks before Israeli elections, the Attorney General of Israel Avichai Mandelblit announced yesterday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be charged with criminal wrongdoing in three separate cases against him, including bribery in the far-reaching Bezeq corruption probe, pending a hearing.
Mandelblit will indict Netanyahu in Case 4000 on charges of bribery, in which Netanyahu is alleged to have approved favourable regulations to benefit Shaul Elovitch, the owner of telecoms company Bezeq, in exchange for positive media coverage from Elovitch’s Walla news website.
Netanyahu will also be indicted for fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000, in which he is alleged to have accepted gifts in return for favours.
In Case 2000, involving accusations Netanyahu agreed with Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes to weaken a rival daily in return for more favourable coverage from Yedioth, Mandelblit will seek to charge Netanyahu with fraud and breach of trust, while Mozes will be charged with bribery.
The attorney general detailed the allegations in a 57-page document that was released on Thursday evening.
Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing in all three cases, and has alleged that the investigations against him are a “witch hunt” involving the left, the media and the police relentlessly pressuring a “weak” attorney general.
Israel’s legislative election for the 21st Knesset will take place on 9th April, with recent polls showing the centrist opposition party Blue and White, headed by former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, in the lead.