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AFP
November 22, 2019

Netanyahu indicted over corruption

Top Story

AFP
November 22, 2019

JERUSALEM: Israel’s attorney general indicted Benjamin Netanyahu on a range of corruption charges on Thursday, the justice ministry announced, potentially spelling an end to the prime minister’s decades-long political career.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit “decided to file charges against the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for offences of receiving a bribe, fraud, and breach of trust,” a ministry statement said.

Netanyahu, who strongly denies all the charges, becomes the first Israeli prime minister to be indicted while in office.Rightwinger Netanyahu, who has been in power since 2009, is Israel’s longest-serving prime minister and dominates the country´s political scene. The indictment comes as Israel faces a potential third election in a year, with neither Netanyahu nor his main rival able to form a government after deadlocked elections in September.

Netanyahu is not legally required to resign until he is convicted and all appeals are exhausted, but political pressure is likely to be intense. A close ally of US President Donald Trump, the 70-year-old may now ask the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, to grant him immunity from prosecution.

The justice ministry statement said copies of the charge sheet had been sent to both Netanyahu’s lawyers and the Knesset.

The charges against him range from receiving gifts worth thousands of dollars to a deal to change regulatory frameworks in favour of a media group in exchange for positive coverage. Mandelblit is due to give a public statement, with Netanyahu expected to respond.

Netanyahu has outlived most political rivals and Hugh Lovatt, Israel-Palestine analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the indictment may still not be “the end of the story”.

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