The Israel police have recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara for bribery and other corruption charges in an investigation dubbed Case 4000.
In a statement released on Sunday, the police said that Netanyahu was suspected of taking bribes and of conduct involving “a conflict of interest” when he made decisions that benefited Shaul Elovitch, who controlled Israel’s largest telecommunications firm, Bezeq.
The case involved suspicions that Netanyahu intervened with regulators to help Bezeq and in exchange Elovitch ordered the Walla News website to provide favorable coverage of the Israeli premier and his wife.
The police said they had found evidence that “Netanyahu and those close to him blatantly intervened, sometimes on a daily basis, in the content published on the Walla news website, and sought to influence the appointment of senior employees (editors and reporters), while using their ties to Shaul and [his wife] Iris Elovitch.”
Investigators said Netanyahu should stand trial on charges of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust and fraudulently accepting benefits.
They also recommended to charge Sara Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and for “disruption of investigative and judicial proceedings.”
This is the third such police recommendation against Netanyahu in recent months. Now, the Israeli attorney general should decide whether to bring indictments in the case.
The Israeli prime minister, however, dismissed the accusations against himself and his wife.
“These recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began,” he claimed in a statement. “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 Israeli police have already recommended charging Netanyahu for bribery and breach of trust in Case 1000 and Case 2000.
Netanyahu is suspected of having received luxury gifts from businessmen overseas in Case 1000.
He is also suspected of negotiating favorable press coverage with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher, Arnon Mozes, in Case 2000.
The Israelis have been holding protests to demand the prime minister’s resignation over the corruption scandals, but Netanyahu has described the events as part of efforts meant to topple him “at any cost.”