18 February 2018.
Police on Tuesday, 13 February 2018, recommended Netanyahu be indicted for fraud, breach of trust, and bribery in the investigations, known as cases 1000 and 2000. The Times of Israel reported.
In Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are alleged to have received illicit gifts from benefactors, most notably the Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, and James Packer, totalling $282,000. In return, Netanyahu is alleged to have intervened on Milchan’s behalf in matters relating to legislation, business dealings, and visa arrangements. The legislation consisted of “Milchan law”, which aimed at cutting taxes on their income abroad for returning Israelis who have spent time overseas. The law helped Milchan get a 10-year US visa and assisted the producer in furthering his film work. Israeli police have also recommended charging Milchan. Reported the Sydney Morning Herald. There are no charges against James Packer, an Australian businessman and investor. Netanyahu allegedly requested gifts and services from Packer worth up to $US100,000 including champagne, tickets to a Mariah Carey concert and cigars.
Yair Lapid, chairman of Yesh Atid and his political rival, turns out to be a witness in Case 1000.
Case 2000 involves a deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes, that would weaken its rival Israel Hayom, in return for more favourable coverage from Yedioth. There appears to be no financial involvement.
The investigation, known as Case 3000, concerns the Défense Ministry’s contract for purchasing of submarines and other vessels, worth more than two billion dollars, from the German contractor ThyssenKrupp. Netanyahu’s second cousin and personal attorney, David Shimron, and his legal partner Yitzhak Molcho, have also been questioned in the investigation.
Protesters accused Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, a Netanyahu appointee, of slow-walking the probes. There has been weekly demonstration near Mandelblit’s home, every Saturday evening since December 2016. He was previously Netanyahu’s Cabinet Secretary.
Netanyahu dismissed the allegations as one that is full of holes as Swiss cheese, or is as rotten as an apple riddled with wriggling worms. He remains unruffled. The police announcement has not weakened the Likud party and his position in the party looks unassailable.
At a Likud parliamentary party meeting Netanyahu hinted that he had sought US approval for extending Israeli sovereignty over settlements in Area C of the West Bank. The White House quickly denied it. Some claim that this move was to detract the investigations by the police.
Police on Sunday said senior officials in the Bezeq phone company Bezeq were arrested over the weekend in a graft probe involving close associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In the case 4000, police allege that Shaul Elovitch, owner of the Walla news site and the controlling shareholder of Bezeq, a telecommunications company, swayed coverage of Netanyahu on the news site in exchange for benefits for Bezeq. Israeli police arrested some senior executives from Bezeq, on Sunday.