Netanyahu likely to be investigated for bribery, fraud following ‘secret probe’ discovery – report
Israeli police have obtained new documents in a secret probe against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, prompting them to seek a full criminal investigation against the politician on suspicion of bribery and fraud, local media reports.
Since discovering the files, police have requested from Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that he allow a full investigation against Netanyahu. Authorities are reportedly convinced that they will be able to open one in the coming days, Channel 2 News reported, according to The Times of Israel.
The documents were reportedly obtained as part of a secret inquiry against Netanyahu by special police unit Lahav 433, which was launched in June. The probe was given the green light by Police Chief Roni Alsheich, who demanded secrecy and that no details of the investigation be leaked to the media.
Meanwhile, Mandelblit also reportedly instructed employees in the state prosecutor's office to look into allegations that Netanyahu accepted €1 million ($1.04 million) from Arnaud Mimran, a French businessman currently serving eight years in prison for committing carbon tax fraud. During his trial, Mimran claimed he donated the money to Netanyahu during his 2009 election campaign.
However, Netanyahu has repeatedly denied the donation, and a spokesperson for the leader has called the newest action against him "nonsense."
“Since Netanyahu’s victory in the last elections and even before, hostile elements have made heroic efforts to attempt to bring about [Netanyahu’s] downfall, with false accusations against him and his family. This [latest attempt] is absolutely false. There was nothing and there will be nothing," the spokesperson said, as quoted by Haaretz.
It is indeed far from the first time that Netanyahu has come under fire for suspected corruption. Last month, Mandelblit opened a probe into an alleged scandal involving the purchase of German submarines, with Netanyahu's personal friend and lawyer suspected of a conflict of interest. The prime minister is expected to be questioned in the probe.
In July 2015, then-Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced a criminal investigation into alleged misconduct at Netanyahu's residences.
Netanyahu's wife, Sara, has also found herself in the spotlight for alleged corruption, accused of misusing public funds in May. She was also accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of state funds from bottles returned to local supermarkets last year.