Netanyahu charged with 'breach of trust', refuses to step down

Feb 15, 2018, 08:00 IST | Agencies

In a 14-month-long probe, the cops have found enough evidence to recommend the prosecution to indict him

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Pic/AFP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Pic/AFP

In a setback to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the police on Wednesday recommended his indictment in two case of alleged corruption and breach of trust even as the beleaguered leader remained defiant and refused to step down.

After a 14-month-long investigation, police announced that it found enough evidence to recommend the state's prosecution to indict 68-year-old PM. Netanyahu, the two-time premier, faces prosecution in two corruption cases: a gifts-for-favours affair known as Case 1000, and a second scandal, called Case 2000, in which he is suspected of back-room dealings with Arnon Mozes, publisher of the popular newspaper Yediot Aharonot, to ensure more favourable coverage, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Netanyahu was chosen the Prime Minister of Israel in 2009. Previously he held the position from 1996 to 1999. The police have accused Netanyahu of accepting nearly $300,000 in gifts over 10 years.

Netanyahu, however, said his government was "stable" and criticised the police investigation, which prompted calls for his resignation. "I can reassure you that the coalition is stable. Neither me nor anyone else has plans for elections. We're going to continue to work together for the good of Israeli citizens until the end of the term," he said.

"I will continue to lead Israel responsibly and faithfully for as long as you, the citizens of Israel, choose me to lead you," he said soon after the allegations came to light. "I am certain that at the next elections, which will be held on schedule, I will earn your trust again, with God's help," he said. He said the police report "misleads" and is "contrary to the truth." He earlier addressed the nation shortly before the police released their findings and made it clear that he would not step down.

The case has focused on Netanyahu's relationship with billionaire and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan. In exchange for the gifts, police say, the PM tried to advance a tax break that would have benefited Milchan, though the Finance Ministry blocked him from doing so.

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