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Israeli Police Suspect Bribery, Fraud in Cases Related to Netanyahu

Israeli Police Suspect Bribery, Fraud in Cases Related to Netanyahu

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of bribe, fraud and breach of trust in two cases, the country's police confirmed on Thursday. The gag order was granted and is effective until September 17.

A statement from his office Thursday night said, "We completely reject the unfounded claims against the prime minister".

Israeli press said that Netanyahu's former chief of staff, Ari Harow, is close to turning state's witness and would give evidence against the Prime Minister in exchange for immunity from prosecution. It claimed a campaign was underway to reshuffle the government but the effort would fail because there was nothing to it.

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Police have been questioning Netanyahu for months over the cases but have released few details.

The other case, known as "Case 1000", involves suspicions that Netanyahu and his wife Sara received expensive gifts from Israeli-U.S. businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

Reports suggest that, after receiving cigars and champagne, the Israeli Prime Minister lobbied then US Secretary of State John Kerry on Mr Milchan's behalf while he was trying to acquire a new US visa.

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The investigations have stirred Israeli politics and led to speculation over whether Netanyahu will eventually be forced to step down. One, dubbed by the police as "Case 2000", involves secret talks he held with the owner of a large Israeli newspaper called Yediot Aharono about reducing the competition in the news sector in return for more positive coverage.

Netanyahu's office has repeatedly denied wrongdoing over the investigations, portraying the accusations as a witch hunt against him and his family by a hostile media opposed to his hard-line political views.

Cutting the circulation of Israel Hayom, which is distributed free of charge, would benefit Mr Mozes financially because it is the main competitor of his newspaper in the battle for advertising revenues.

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He's pushed for warmer relations with Moscow but has bowed to resistance from both parties in Congress in signing the measure. Russian President Vladimir Putin preemptively responded to the sanctions bill Sunday by expelling 755 American diplomats.


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