Israeli PM Netanyahu indicted for fraud, bribery

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel [Photo Credit: CNN.com]
Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel [Photo Credit: CNN.com]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted by the country’s attorney-general for fraud, bribery and breach of public trust, local media reported on Thursday.

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit announced the indictment on Thursday. It involved allegations that Mr Netanyahu engaged in bribery and breach of trust to the tune of $500 million between 2012 and 2017. The full charges are to be read to the public later on Thursday.

Mr Netanyahu has denied the allegations, saying he has been a victim of a politically-motivated “witch hunt”.

The charges come as Mr Netanyahu was left serving as Israel’s caretaker prime minister after failing to form a government following elections in September.

Israeli media said Mr Netanyahu had hoped to pass a legislation that would prevent him from being indicted.

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But his failure to win enough votes to form a government following the September 17 polls has now left him vulnerable. Still, the prime minister could ask the Israeli Parliament for immunity, which would require a special committee that has not been established due to the lingering political crisis.

Mr Netanyahu, 70, has been Israeli prime minister since 2009. He previously held the position between 1996 and 1999. Despite his domestic political crisis, he has continued to enjoy tremendous support from President Donald Trump, with both seeing one another as an ally in the fight against extremism in the Middle East.

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