Israeli police on Tuesday recommended in which Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted on bribery as well as breach of trust charges in a pair of corruption cases, dealing an embarrassing blow to the embattled prime minister in which will be likely to fuel calls for him to step down.
Netanyahu angrily rejected the accusations, which included accepting nearly $300,000 in gifts by a pair of billionaires. He accused police of being on a witch hunt, vowed to remain in office as well as even seek re-election.
“I will continue to lead the state of Israel responsibly as well as loyally as long as you, the citizens of Israel choose me to lead you,” an ashen-faced Netanyahu said in a televised address. “I am sure in which the truth will come to light. as well as I am sure in which also inside the next election in which will take place on time I will win your trust again with God’s help.”
The recommendations marked a dramatic ending to a months-long investigation into allegations in which Netanyahu accepted gifts by Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan as well as Australian billionaire James Packer, as well as suspicions in which Netanyahu offered to give preferential treatment to a newspaper publisher in exchange for favorable coverage.
The recommendations currently go to Attorney General Avihai Mendelblit, who will review the material before deciding whether to file charges. Netanyahu can remain in office during in which process, which could drag on for months.
although which has a cloud hanging over his head, he could soon find himself facing calls to step aside. During similar circumstances a decade ago, Netanyahu, as opposition leader, urged then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign during a police investigation, saying a leader “sunk up to his neck in interrogations” could not govern properly.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, a bitter rival of Netanyahu, called on him to suspend himself as well as for the coalition to appoint a replacement on Wednesday morning.
“The depth of corruption will be horrifying,” Barak said. “This particular does not look like nothing. This particular looks like bribery.”
In a statement, police said there was sufficient evidence to indict Netanyahu inside the first case, known as File 1000, for accepting bribes, fraud as well as breach of trust.
This particular said Netanyahu had accepted gifts valued at 750,000 shekels ($214,000) by Milchan, as well as 250,000 shekels (or $71,000) by Packer. The gifts by Milchan reportedly included expensive cigars as well as champagne.
Police said in which in return, Netanyahu had operated on Milchan’s behalf on U.S. visa matters, legislating a tax break as well as connecting him with an Indian businessman. This particular said he also helped Milchan, an Israeli producer whose credits include “Pretty Woman,” ″12 Years a Slave” as well as “JFK,” inside the Israeli media market.
inside the second case, known as “File 2000,” Netanyahu reportedly was recorded asking Arnon Mozes, the publisher of the Yediot Ahronot daily, for positive coverage in exchange for reining in a free pro-Netanyahu daily in which had cut into Yediot’s business.
Police said there was sufficient evidence to charge both Milchan as well as Mozes with bribery. There was no immediate comment by either man.
In his TV address, Netanyahu said in which his entire three-decade political career, which included serving as Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., a stint at prime minister inside the 1990s as well as a series of Cabinet posts, were meant only to serve the Israeli public.
He acknowledged aiding Milchan with his visa issues, although said Milchan had done much for Israel as well as noted in which the late Shimon Peres, had also been close with Milchan.
He also said in which over time he had taken decisions in which hurt Milchan’s business interests in Israel.
“How can allegations be taken seriously in which in exchange for cigars I acted for Arnon Milchen’s benefit?” he said.
He said all the allegations over time against him had one goal: “to topple me by government.”
He said past scandals had all “ended with nothing” as well as “This particular time as well they will end with nothing.”
As the police investigation gained steam in recent months, Netanyahu has claimed to be a victim of an overaggressive police force as well as a media witchhunt.
Netanyahu, who has been prime minister for nine straight years, as well as his family have become embroiled in a series of scandals in recent months.
Recordings recently emerged of his wife, Sara, screaming at an aide, while separate recordings emerged of his eldest son, Yair, on a drunken night out at a series of Tel Aviv strip clubs while traveling around in a taxpayer-funded government car which has a government-funded bodyguard.
Netanyahu has said the scandals are all the work of media out to get him.