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Israeli TV Reports Netanyahu To Face Graft Charges


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. File photo

Israel's attorney general plans to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges related to three ongoing corruption investigations, Israeli TV reported on February 28.

Citing the Justice Ministry, the report said the filing of charges, which could include bribery, fraud, and abuse of office, would depend on the outcoming of a mandatory hearing at which Netanyahu would have the opportunity to argue against being charged.

That hearing would likely be held after the country's April 9 general election, in which Netanyahu is seeking a fourth term as premier.

Netanyahu's Likud party announced the prime minister will make a statement later on February 28.

The previous day, the Supreme Court rejected a petition from Likud requesting that the court prevent Attorney General Avichai Mandelbilt from filing the charges, arguing it was a "blatant intervention" in the election.

Law enforcement have recommended Netanyahu's indictment in connection with three different cases.

In one, he allegedly sought regulatory benefits for telecommunications firm Bezeq in exchange for favorable media coverage.

In a second, he allegedly sought a deal with the publisher of the Yediot Aharonot newspaper offering to pass a law that would have limited one of the paper's competitors in exchange for positive coverage. In the third case, Netanyahu and his family are accused of accepting gifts from wealthy individuals in exchange for favors.

A spokesman for the prime minister on February 27 called the accusations "ridiculous" and "absurd."

Netanyahu, 69, has been prime minister twice, the first time from 1996-1999, and then again since March 2009.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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