After Netanyahu’s plea was rejected to postpone a decision on corruption charges until after April elections, reports surfaced in the Israeli media that a decision to indict will be announced within days.
By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attorneys on Friday saying that there was “no impediment” to publishing his decision on corruption charges before elections.
Mandelblit says that suspending the legal process would “violate the principle of equality before the law” and interfere with “the public’s right to know.” He added he would issue a decision “as soon as possible” but gave no specifics.
Police have recommended indicting Netanyahu on three corruption cases but Mandelblit makes the final decision. If he decides to indict, Netanyahu is entitled to defend himself at a hearing before formal charges are filed.
According to a report by Channel 13 News, which it claimed was based on transcripts from discussions between Mandelblit and his team, prosecutor Liat Ben-Ari told the attorney general she is certain the prime minister should be prosecuted over Case 4000, which involves an alleged quid pro quo involving Shaul Elovitch, Israel’s largest telecommunications firm’s controlling shareholder, and Netanyahu in which they allegedly exchanged favorable media coverage for advantageous regulatory decisions between 2015 to 2017.
Mandelbilt’s decision on this case and two others is expected within three days.
“Case 4000 is a clear case of bribery. There is no doubt that the prime minister carried out particularly grave breaches of the law,” Ben-Ari reportedly said in a Channel 13 report quoted by Times of Israel. “We’ve indicted in far less serious cases. We are talking about favors worth hundreds of millions of shekels.”