Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced Thursday evening.
In his decision Thursday, Mandeblit found that there was sufficient evidence to charge the Prime Minister with bribery in the Case 4000 investigation, as well as with fraud and breach of trust in both the Case 1000 and Case 2000 investigations.
The bribery indictment against Netanyahu will be filed only after a hearing with the Prime Minister.
Netanyahu is expected to respond to the announcement at 8:00 p.m. Israel time.
Mandeblit’s decision comes following police recommendations for indictments in the three cases.
The Prime Minister has denied the allegations against him, and accused the media and Israeli Left of orchestrating a campaign to pressure Mandeblit to file charges.
Case 1000 revolves around claims Netanyahu received expensive gifts from a businessman in exchange for favors. In the Case 2000 investigation, Netanyahu has been accused of advancing a law to ban the Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot’s chief competitor from being distributed freely – in exchange for favorable coverage.
Case 4000 involves allegations the Prime Minister pushed regulatory changes which would benefit the Bezeq telecommunications company, owned by Shaul Elovitch, in exchange for favorable coverage from a news site owned by Elovitch.
Following the announcement, the Likud party issued a statement condemning the decision, calling it “Political persecution” of the Prime Minister.
“This witch hunt against the Prime Minister started with the attempt to pin him with four cases involving bribery [charges]. Already now, before the [preindictment] hearing, three of [the bribery cases] have fallen apart. The remaining charges will also fall apart, like a house of cards, once the Prime Minister faces the state’s witnesses.”
The one-sided announcement by the Attorney General about a month before the elections, without giving the Prime Minister an opportunity to respond is an unprecedented act of interference in the elections. It has a single purpose: to bring down the right-wing government of Netanyahu and replace it with a left-wing government led by Lapid-Gantz. That must not happen.”