Jerusalem: The Attorney General of Israel on Thursday formally indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under a series of corruption charges, threatening him of losing grip on his power and leading the country already mired in political crisis to go into further disarray.
The charges announced by Attorney Gen Avichai Mandelblit included bribery, breach of trust, and fraud. However, the Israeli Prime Minister has vehemently denied all allegations and compared the investigation into the corruption charges to a ‘witch-hunt’. He further alleged that the case has been motivated by his political rivals to force him out of the Office.
Although the indictment does not require Netanyahu to step down from his prime ministership is sure to put him under additional pressure to step down. The charges against Netanyahu range from receiving expensive gifts from foreign leaders to signing deals to change regulatory frameworks for favourable media coverage.
If reports are to believed, the Israeli Prime Minister has accepted thousands of dollars worth champagne and cigars from his rich friends, traded favours with a newspaper publisher to influence his news coverage on a popular media site.
PM Netanyahu will address the nation on the case on Friday night, local time.
Israel’s political system has been paralyzed since the closely-fought election on September 17, in which no party won enough votes to form a majority coalition in the 120-seat parliament. The recent elections marked the second time Israelis cast their votes in five months.
Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government following the April election, which led to the second elections in September.