Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu Indicted on Counts of Bribery and Fraud
Today, Israel’s Attorney General Mandelblit announced his decision to indict Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “for offenses of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust”. The indictment focuses on three cases: The first alleges the Prime Minister conspired with Israeli media company Bezeq. Prime Minister Netanyahu “regarded [media coverage] as crucial in his political future”, and in exchange for his positive coverage and his political rival’s negative coverage, “Netanyahu used his power and authority as a public servant to promote issues” favorable to Bezeq, “carried out operations that promoted significant business interests” for Bezeq”, and specially handled “Bezeq’s regulatory affairs.”; Similarly, in the second case Netanyahu allegedly accepted a bribe from Arnon Mozes, publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth a major Israeli daily newspaper. In exchange for “[positive] coverage of the Yedioth Ahronoth’s media during the election period and [preventing] negative publicity that would hurt him”, Netanyahu alluded to Mozes “that he would use his governing power to promote beneficial legislation with Mozes.”; The final case alleges Prime Minister Netanyahu received various gifts and favors, including “cigar boxes and champagne boxes”, totaling 700,000 Shekels ($200,000 USD), from media industry executives Arnon Milchan and James Packer in exchange for various tax and regulatory benefits.
The Israeli Prime Minister has denied the allegations, calling them “an attempt at a coup d’etat in false pretenses and… designed to overthrow an incumbent Prime Minister”. He has also called for an “independent external committee” to “investigate the investigators”.