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Israeli Prime Minister charged with fraud, corruption, and treason

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will stand trial on corruption charges. The Israeli Justice Ministry said that Netanyahu is accused of fraud, corruption, and treason. Earlier, Netanyahu has repeatedly denied all accusations against him, claiming a “witch hunt.” He also ruled out resigning if charges were brought against him.

One case concerns the suspicion that Netanyahu when he was a communications Minister, granted company Bezeq legal benefits. In response, the media owned by the concern had to cover Netanyahu’s activities positively.

Also, it is alleged that Netanyahu and his family between 2007 and 2016 accepted gifts from two businessmen, including jewelry, totaling one million shekels (about 230,000 euros). According to police, these were illegal donations by American producer Arnon Milchan and Australian businessman James Packer.

Netanyahu also reportedly made efforts to have an important Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, positively write about him, in response to which he was allegedly willing to weaken the influence of another newspaper.

According to Israeli expert Yuval Shani of the Israel Institute of democracy (IDI), Netanyahu now has 30 days to apply for parliamentary immunity from prosecution. The IDI argues that under the law after the charges Netanyahu is not obliged to resign. If the politician is found guilty of bribery, he faces up to ten years in prison. If convicted on charges of fraud and treason, the maximum sentence will be three years in prison.

In the recent elections in Israel, which took place on September 17, Benny Gantz’s bloc, having received 33 of the 120 seats, became the strongest parliamentary force. Netanyahu’s Likud came in second with 32 seats. However, none of the parties and their allies have the 61-seat majority needed to form a government.

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