Netanyahu Indicted on Corruption Charges
The man who currently occupies the office of Prime Minister of Israel (following inconclusive elections held in September) has been indicted on charges of bribery and corruption relating to three separate cases. According to a report on the BBC news website, the three cases are summarised as follows:
Attorney General Mandelblit said in February that he intended to indict Mr Netanyahu in connection with three cases - known as Case 1,000, Case 2,000 and Case 4,000 - pending final hearings that eventually took place last month.
- Case 1,000: Mr Netanyahu has been charged with fraud and breach of trust in this case. He is alleged to have received various high-value benefits, including pink champagne and cigars, in return for favours for a wealthy friend. Mr Netanyahu has said they were tokens of friendship and that he did not act inappropriately in exchange for them. The friend similarly denies any wrongdoing.
- Case 2,000: Mr Netanyahu faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in this case. He is alleged to have agreed a deal with the publisher of a major newspaper to promote legislation to weaken a rival daily in return for favourable coverage. The publisher has been charged with bribery. Like the prime minister, he denies any wrongdoing. Both men have said they did not intend to promote the matters discussed in their meetings, and the legislation was not passed.
- Case 4,000: This is considered the most serious case because Mr Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, as well as fraud and breach of trust. It is alleged that Mr Netanyahu promoted regulatory decisions that favoured a leading telecommunications company in return for favourable news coverage from one of its websites, as part of an agreement with the company's controlling shareholder. The prime minister has insisted experts supported the regulatory decisions and that he received nothing in return. The shareholder, who has been charged with bribery, also denies wrongdoing.
It is unclear if Mr Netanyahu can remain in office when under indictment; normally, a cabinet minister would be expected to step down when charged with a crime, under a supreme court ruling. Mr Netanyahu has protested his innocence and proclaimed that the charges are politically motivated.
The Israeli Shekel has been under sustained pressure against the US Dollar all year, declining from 3.779 to the Dollar late last December to stand at 3.461 currently, a slide of 8.4%.