Israel PM faces corruption charges

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement after a meeting of the Likud party in the Israeli town of Ramat Gan, east of the coastal city of Tel Aviv,on 21 February 2019Image copyright

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Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is the victim of a left-wing “witch-hunt”

Israel’s attorney general intends to indict PM Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges, Israeli media say.

Avichai Mandelblit is reported to have informed Mr Netanyahu’s lawyers that he will face charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three cases, pending a final hearing.

The prime minister is alleged to have accepted gifts from wealthy businessmen and dispensed favours to try to get more favourable press coverage.

Mr Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing.

He has said he is the victim of a left-wing “witch-hunt” intended to topple him ahead of a closely contested general election on 9 April.

The prime minister will have an opportunity to make his case against the indictments at the final hearing, which is likely to take place after the election.

If his arguments are rejected, it will be the first time in Israel’s history that a sitting prime minister has faced criminal charges.

Opposition parties have said there is no way Mr Netanyahu should carry on as prime minister if that happens.

Mr Mandelblit has said the Supreme Court will determine whether he must resign.

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