Israel's justice ministry indicts PM Benjamin Netanyahu for fraud, breach of trust and corruption

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Nov 21, 2019, 10.22 PM (IST) Edited By: Sparshita Saxena

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted by the country's justice ministry for bribery, corruption, fraud and breach of trust on Thursday. 

Netanyahu faced a three-year-long probe in three cases. The judgement delivers a tight blow to Netanyahu just before possible polls. 

Netanyahu now faces a trial in court and in case he gets convicted he will be barred from contesting polls and could also face a 10-year-long jail term. 

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced the decision, the first of its kind against a serving Israeli prime minister, in a statement and said the charges included bribery, breach of trust and fraud.

Police recommended in February that Mandelblit file criminal charges against the right-wing prime minister in the long-running investigations dubbed Cases 1000, 2000 and 4000.

Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing in the three corruption cases, saying he is a victim of a political witch-hunt.

He is suspected of wrongfully accepting $264,000 worth of gifts, which prosecutors said included cigars and champagne, from tycoons and of dispensing favours in alleged bids for improved coverage by an Israeli newspaper and a website, news agency Reuters reported. 

He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of bribery and a maximum 3-year term for fraud and breach of trust.

An indictment against Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving leader, would raise more uncertainty over who will ultimately lead a country mired in political chaos after two inconclusive elections this year.

(With inputs from Reuters)

Story highlights

Netanyahu faced a three-year-long probe in three cases. The judgement delivers a tight blow to Netanyahu just before possible polls.