The Israeli police have said their investigation has found sufficient evidence for bribery and fraud charges to be brought against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, in a third corruption case against the leader.
Authorities on Sunday alleged Netanyahu awarded regulatory favours to Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecommunications group, in return for more positive coverage of him and his wife on Bezeq’s subsidiary news website, Walla.
Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.
“These recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Sunday.
“I’m sure that in this case the relevant authorities, after examining the issue, will reach the same conclusion: that there was nothing because there is nothing.”
The attorney general will now decide whether to bring indictments in the case.
If charged, the four-term prime minister would be facing one of the greatest challenges to his political survival.
Despite his dominance of Israeli politics, the newest police recommendation comes just after his right-wing coalition’s majority was reduced to a precarious one seat in parliament.
The Bezeq case, known as Case 4000, is the most serious of all those of which Netanyahu has been accused.
Two of his top confidants have turned state witnesses and are believed to have provided police with incriminating evidence.
Netanyahu held the government’s communications portfolio until last year and oversaw regulation in the field.
Former journalists at the Walla news site have attested to being pressured to refrain from negative reporting of Netanyahu.
Police say the investigation, which included the testimony of 60 witnesses, revealed that Netanyahu and Bezeq boss Shaul Elovitch engaged in a “bribe-based relationship”.
Police are also recommending charges be brought against Elovitch and members of his family.
Police have already recommended indicting Netanyahu on corruption charges in two other cases, one involving accepting gifts from billionaire friends and the other over trading positive media coverage for advantageous legislation for a newspaper.
Netanyahu has dismissed the accusations as a witch-hunt. – Al-Jazeera.