Police to present recommendations in PM corruption cases next week — report

Police to present recommendations in PM corruption cases next week — report

Commissioner Roni Alsheich and heads of the national force’s Investigations Department said nearly ready to hand over findings to prosecutors

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a tour of the Jerusalem Police headquarters at the Russian compound in Jerusalem, October 7, 2015. (GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a tour of the Jerusalem Police headquarters at the Russian compound in Jerusalem, October 7, 2015. (GPO)

The top echelons of the Israel Police are reportedly set to finalize their recommendations on whether criminal charges should be lodged against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in two corruption probes.

Police chiefs, including Commissioner Roni Alsheich, and the heads of the national police force’s Investigations Department will present their recommendations on “Case 1000” and “Case 2000” next week, Hadashot news reported Tuesday, citing a police source.

The source said that barring any unexpected developments, the two probes were nearing completion and their results would be handed over to prosecutors on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

The recommendations are widely expected to include a proposed indictment on bribery charges, and will be made public once presented to the state prosecution, the report said.

The TV channel noted, however, that police sources have previously predicted that recommendations were days away, only to be proven wrong.

Speaking to The Times of Israel, a police spokesperson said the force “could not confirm or deny” whether recommendations are imminent.

Once the recommendations are filed, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit must decide whether an indictment is warranted.

Arnon Milchan (center) with Shimon Peres (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu, March 28, 2005. (Flash90/File)

The investigations into Netanyahu have continued for over a year. In the so-called Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, most notably 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 has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Last month, Mandelblit said the year-long investigations were in their final stages, dismissing media reports claiming he’s been holding up the probes.

Mandelblit commented on the investigations during a ceremony at the Israel Bar Association in Tel Aviv, defending, as he has in the past, the lengthy period of time police have spent probing the affairs.

“We are in the final stretch of Netanyahu’s investigations,” he said. “There were investigation operations carried out that you haven’t heard about.”

“You must remember that a criminal investigation is not a reality show. It is impossible to share with the public at any given moment everything that is going on, because if we did that it would harm the ability to reach the truth,” he continued. “We, and the general public, must allow the Israel Police to investigate in the best and most thorough way to uncover the truth.”

Demonstrators protest near the home of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in Petah Tikva on August 5, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Every Saturday night for over a year, demonstrations have been held outside Mandelblit’s home in Petah Tikva, alleging that he is stalling in the corruption probes against Netanyahu. They have spawned much bigger anti-corruption rallies, held in Tel Aviv and across the country.

The prime minister has also been linked indirectly to “Case 3000,” a large investigation into suspected corruption surrounding the multi-billion shekel purchase of naval vessels and submarines from a German shipbuilder. While Netanyahu has not been named as a suspect, close associates of his, including his personal aides, have been arrested or questioned.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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