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Report: Prosecutors leaning toward charging Netanyahu with breach of trust

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, reads a note as an aid whispers during a special cabinet meeting in the southern Israeli city of Dimona, Tuesday, March 20, 2018.
AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner

Prosecutors in Israel are leaning toward charging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with breach of trust but not bribery in at least one corruption case, according to a TV report aired Monday.

In early February police recommended to prosecutors that Netanyahu be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust -- allegations that he strongly denies.

Since then the evidence files have been in the hands of the state prosecution, who make the decision on whether to file an indictment.

Channel 10 reported that the prosecutors are "leaning" towards pressing charges in Case 1000, in which he is suspected of being showered with luxury gifts including cigars and champagne by wealthy associates.

According to the unsourced report, prosecutors are likely to stop short of filing an indictment for bribery because of the lack of evidence that Netanyahu changed his actions after receiving the gifts.

Rather, they reportedly view the matter as chiefly a conflict of interest.

The top two benefactors in the case, Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian casino mogul James Packer, reportedly stood to gain tax advantages determined by a change in their visa circumstances.

Both gave evidence in the investigation, and while police also recommended charging Milchan, Packer was not considered a suspect.

Monday's report did not mention the second investigation, Case 2000.

Police are still interviewing witnesses and examining evidence in a third probe focusing on Netanyahu and his associates, in which he is reportedly suspected of providing commercial advantages to the Bezeq telecommunications giant in return for favorable coverage by a news website it controlled.

Netanyahu also denies wrongdoing in this case.

The premier's wife, Sara Netanyahu, has also been charged with fraud, fraudulently receiving goods under aggravated circumstances, and breach of trust over conduct relating to expenses at the family's official residence in Jerusalem.

Read more:

Netanyahu's tangled web of corruption cases explained

Netanyahu vows to continue to lead Israel despite indictment recommendations

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