A state prosecutor appointed to oversee and review the corruption allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly recommended the premier be charged in at least one of three cases against him.
The head of the State Prosecution’s Tax and Finance Department, Liat Ben Ari, has presented her final recommendations in Cases 1000 and 2000 to State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, Channel 10 reported Sunday.
Among the conclusions, the report said, was a recommendation to try Netanyahu on corruption charges in Case 1000, in which the prime minister is suspected of receiving benefits worth about NIS 1 million ($282,000) from billionaire benefactors including Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, in exchange for assistance on various issues. Ben Ari maintained there was sufficient evidence to lodge an indictment, the TV report said, though it did not elaborate on which charges she had recommended Netanyahu face.
The channel said it was unclear whether she had recommended an indictment in Case 2000, which 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.
Police in February recommended Netanyahu be indicted in both cases.
Ben Ari’s recommendations will now be reviewed by Nitzan, who will then present a final recommendation to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, before the latter decides whether to press charges against the prime minister.
Mandelblit has already announced, however, that a final decision on indictments in the two cases will only be made together with the findings of another ongoing investigation, Case 4000.
In that case, 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.
That probe has been reopened, a report by the Kan public broadcaster said last week, due to new information. The development is expected to delay any decision by prosecutors on filing indictments against the premier.
Netanyahu has been questioned 12 times over the various graft suspicions, most recently in August over the Case 4000 investigation.
Once police investigators finish their work in that investigations, they will submit their findings and recommendations to prosecutors, who will then hand over their conclusions to the attorney general.
Netanyahu has long denied any wrongdoing in all three cases.