Netanyahu will face corruption charges, former defence minister predicts

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Posted

July 12, 2017 17:16:32

Israel’s former defence minister Moshe Ya’alon is predicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be indicted on corruption charges.

Key points:

  • Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been the subject of three separate investigations
  • One investigation alleges he accepted lavish gifts from businessmen overseas — including James Packer
  • Former defence minister says Mr Netanyahu will be indicted because there are “too many issues under investigation”

Mr Netanyahu has been the subject of three separate investigations, one of which involves allegations he accepted lavish gifts from businessmen overseas, including Australian billionaire James Packer.

Another involves accusations that Mr Netanyahu struck a deal with newspaper owner Arnon Mozes to tone down its attacks on Mr Netanyahu in return for his influence in reducing the circulation of a rival paper.

Mr Ya’alon, who resigned from the Netanyahu Government over policy disagreements, has since announced plans to form his own party and run against Mr Netanyahu.

He says the corruption allegations surrounding the Israeli leader will inevitably lead to his indictment.

“That’s my assessment and belief. Too many issues under investigation,” he told CNN.

“I believe at the end we will witness indictment.”

Packer, Netanyahu deny wrongdoing

Mr Packer last month agreed to face questioning by Israeli police over allegations he and Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan gave Mr Netanyahu and his family hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts, including cigars, champagne and hotel rooms.

Israeli media have reported that police are investigating whether Mr Netanyahu in turn sought to help Mr Packer gain residency in Israel.

Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri recently told the ABC that Mr Packer’s lawyer had asked him about arranging citizenship or residency in Israel for the Australian billionaire.

Mr Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Mr Packer.

The third investigation involves Israel’s purchase of submarines and patrol vessels from Germany.

It has emerged that Mr Netanyahu’s personal lawyer, David Shimron, also represented the local agent for the German naval supplier ThyssenKrupp.

Israeli police have questioned six people this week on suspicion of bribery, fraud and tax offences, including public officials.

Although Israel’s Justice Ministry has previously said Mr Netanyahu himself is not a suspect in that investigation.

Mr Shimron has denied he ever discussed the naval deal with the Israeli Prime Minister, so as to avoid any conflict of interest.

In May the Times of Israel reported that Moshe Ya’alon threatened to “tell all” on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s alleged corruption if he was not indicted.

Mr Ya’alon was ousted as defence minister last year after a series of clashes with Mr Netanyahu, including disagreement over the submarine deal.

Topics:

world-politics,

law-crime-and-justice,

corruption,

government-and-politics,

israel,

australia



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