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Israel's Attorney General leaning towards indictment of Netanyahu: report

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) speaks with attorney general Avichai Mandelblit, who is currently investigating a Netanyahu confidant, at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on November 8, 2015
Abir Sultan (Pool/AFP/File)
AG still undecided on two other cases of bribery, but 'Case 4,000' poised to go ahead before mid-February.

Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mandleblit had decided to indict prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a controversial case of corruption, a senior legal official has told Israel's Hadashot TV.

In what is dubbed 'Case 4000', police suspect that both Netanyahu and his wife Sara influenced regulatory decisions in favor of telecommunications behemoth Bezeq in exchange for positive coverage in major shareholder Elovitch's media outlet Walla.

The case spans a period of two years, between 2015 and 2017, when Benjamin Netanyahu was also communications minister.

The state prosecutor had recommended the indictment last month, with the Attorney General expected to announce his opinion in the following weeks.

Netanyahu had requested that the procedure be delayed in light of the election proceedings, but Mandleblit had rejected the request.

"It’s a question of professionalism," the country's top jurist said to Channel 12 on Thursday, after media reported that he had reached a decision in the matter.

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Finance minister and coalition partner Moshe Kahlon, one of the Israel's most powerful politician and the head of the Kulanu Party, said last month that, should "the attorney general decide to indict Netanyahu after the hearing, he could not continue to serve as prime minister."

According to the report in Hadashot, Mandleblit should summon Netanyahu for a pre-indictment hearing by mid-February.

'Case 4,000' is one of three bribery cases that the prime minister is currently fighting.

In “Case 1,000”, the police allege Netanyahu accepted around 1 million shekels ($280,000) worth of luxury gifts from a number of wealthy benefactors in exchange for favorable government treatment.

“Case 2,000” centers on an alleged arrangement with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes to limit circulation of the newspaper's main rival in exchange for more favorable coverage.

The same senior source told Hadashot that decisions were yet to be made by the AG's office in those two cases.


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