Police set to issue indictment recommendations in Netanyahu cases

PM will issue live statement after investigators release summary of evidence against him in two probes

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a Likud party faction meeting in the Knesset on February 12, 2018 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a Likud party faction meeting in the Knesset on February 12, 2018 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israeli police chiefs were finalizing their recommendations on whether to prosecute Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges, and were set to release their findings at 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday night.

The police files have already been handed over to state prosecutors, according to Hadashot news.

Following the police announcement, Netanyahu was scheduled to issue a live statement from his residence.

Earlier Tuesday, senior police officials were engaged in completing their summary on proposed charges, which will be made available to the media.

“If and when police present a summary of the investigations to the attorney general, a short and concise statement will be released to the press informing them of the conclusions based on the evidence collected, as is the practice with investigations of public figures,” a police source with knowledge of the investigations told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.

In that summary, Israelis will for the first time hear directly from police whether — after parallel year-long probes into alleged corruption cases — investigators have found a sufficient basis of evidence for charges to be pressed against the prime minister, and, if so, on which counts.

State prosecutors must then decide whether to file an indictment.

Earlier Tuesday, Netanyahu was reportedly engaged in consultations with his own lawyers and close associates on their strategy going forward.

On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a petition seeking to prevent police from publishing their recommendations.

“There is no reason to interfere,” read the court ruling, on an appeal that had been filed by right-wing attorney Yossi Fuchs.

In the so-called Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, reportedly including hundreds of thousands of shekels’ worth of cigars and champagne from the Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

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.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.

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