Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was accused of corruption. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced a formal indictment on November 21, including bribery, breach of trust and fraud.
Netanyahu was involved in three cases. He was accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of champagne and cigars from his native Hollywood filmmaker Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire businessman James Packer; and the New News (Yedioth) Ahronoth) The boss reached an agreement to slow down the growth of competitors; provide preferential treatment to Bezeq Telecom in exchange for the favorable news of Walla, a popular news site, for himself and his wife.
Mandelbrit denied that there was political motivation behind the prosecution decision, emphasizing that decisions were made only on the basis of professional considerations. He pointed out that the Attorney General’s decision to sue the incumbent Prime Minister based on serious crimes was described as a heavy and sad day for the Israeli public and for his individual. He said that it is not a left or right question, nor a political issue.
Netanyahu denied the accusation in a televised speech, referring to corruption allegations equal to coups, criticizing investigators for following him rather than the truth, emphasizing that he would not resign. He used to say that the allegations were political persecution and attacked the media, the police, the prosecutors and the judicial system. If the crime of bribery is determined, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment, and the maximum penalty for breach of trust and fraud is imprisonment for 3 years.
Netanyahu became the first prime minister to be indicted during his tenure, but being charged does not mean he needs to resign. The predecessor, Ehud Barak, had stepped down before being sued, and was later convicted of bribery and fraud. He was imprisoned for 16 months.