According to reports, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has served as Prime Minister since 2009 (and also from 1996 to 1999), is about to be indicted on corruption charges. Hewell has been under investigation in at least three probes. The “gift” probe, which involves gifts the PM received from Israeli billionaire Arnon Milchan and Australian businessman James Packer, including jewels, Cuban cigars, luxury hotel stays, and thousands of dollars’ worth of sparkling rose wine. Netanyahu has not denied receipt of the gifts, but has called them mere “tokens of friendship.” Israeli Law prohibits public representatives from receiving gifts that are not “of small value and reasonable in context.” It’s not clear if Netanyahu granted favors in exchange for the gifts, but he allegedly assisted Milchan in receiving a US visa and awarded Packer permanent residency in Israel.
A second probe involves an attempted deal between Netanyahu and Yediot Aharot, an Israeli newspaper. The newspaper tried to lobby Netanyahu into a law that would hurt its competitors in exchange for more favorable coverage, but it appears that no deal came to fruition. The third known probe focuses on Israel’s purchase of German submarines from a manufacturer that Netanyahu’s lawyer/cousin represents. Netanyahu has been question multiple times in the various probes and the resulting political fallout has caused massive protests.
It appears that the indictment will come in the gift probe, with local media reporting that the country’s police chiefs are in unanimous agreement that there is sufficient evidence to indict Netanyahu for receiving bribes. Any recommendation for indictment would be sent to Israel’s Attorney General, who would have to decide whether to move forward with the charges. In response to the news, Netanyahu posted a Facebook video that acknowledge that the police would probably move to recommend his indictment, but denied the allegations, saying “Many of you are asking: what will happen? So I want to calm you: there will be nothing, because I know the truth.”
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