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Netanyahu graft probe renewed, delaying decision on indictment – report

New information said to postpone publication of police recommendations; investigation likely to extend past end of Commissioner Alsheich’s term next month

In this October 7, 2018 file photo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem. (Abir Sultan/Pool via AP, File)
In this October 7, 2018 file photo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem. (Abir Sultan/Pool via AP, File)

A month after officially announcing the end of the investigation into three graft cases connected to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, police say new information has come up that will delay any decision by prosecutors on filing indictments against the premier.

The new information triggered “additional investigative actions” that have delayed the publication of the police investigation’s conclusions, according to police officials quoted by the Kan public broadcaster on Sunday.

Investigators had planned to publish their conclusions before the end of Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich’s term in office next month. The renewal of the investigation will likely delay the publication until after Alsheich leaves office.

The prime minister is a suspect in three separate criminal probes, known by their police designations as cases 1000, 2000, and 4000, which involve suspicions Netanyahu accepted gifts and favors in exchange for advancing businessmen’s interests.

Police in February recommended Netanyahu be indicted in cases 1000 and 2000. In Case 1000, Netanyahu is suspected of receiving benefits worth about NIS 1 million ($282,000) from billionaire benefactors in exchange for assistance in various issues. Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid-pro-quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister weaken a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

In Case 4000, Netanyahu is suspected of advancing regulatory decisions as communications minister and prime minister that benefited Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder in Bezeq, the country’s largest telecommunications firm, in exchange for positive coverage from Elovitch’s Walla news site.

The new information concerns Case 4000, according to the Kan report, which did not offer details on the content or nature of the information.

It may see yet another session of questioning by police investigations of the prime minister. Netanyahu has been questioned 12 times over the various graft suspicions, the last time over the Case 4000 investigation in August.

Once police investigators finish their work, they will submit their findings and recommendations to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who will decide whether to pursue indictments of a sitting prime minister.

Netanyahu has long denied any wrongdoing in all three cases.

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