Israeli PM Netanyahu indicted on charges of bribery and fraud

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a handover ceremony for the new Israeli chief of staff, on January 15, 2019, at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv. /VCG Photo

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced on Thursday that the 70-year-old would be formally charged on three corruption cases dubbed 1000, 2000 and 4000.

Netanyahu is accused of accepting gifts from wealthy businessmen in exchange of favours.

He has denied any wrongdoing, saying he is a victim of a “witch hunt” by his left-wing opponents and the media. He has also said he will not resign and is not legally obligated to do so

The indictment comes as Israel is facing an unprecedented political scenario after President Reuven Rivlin told parliament on Thursday to find a new prime minister as he sought to avoid fresh elections, after incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz each failed to form a government. Both failed to form a government after coming short in parliament numbers.

Parliament has until 11 December to find a candidate who can command the support of the majority of the country’s 120 MPs or a new general election will be called for early 2020. It would be the third such poll within 12 months.

 

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