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  • Netanyahu  consults with Avichai Mandelblit in December of last year while he was cabinet secretary. Today, the now-Attorney General holds the fate of Prime Minister in the palm of his hands.

    Netanyahu consults with Avichai Mandelblit in December of last year while he was cabinet secretary. Today, the now-Attorney General holds the fate of Prime Minister in the palm of his hands. | Photo: Reuters

The prime minister is being investigated on two separate cases on suspicions of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was questioned for the fifth time by Israeli police on suspicions of corruption, according to local media.

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Reuters reported that a cameraman witnessed police enter Netanyahu’s official residence.

Netanyahu’s office and Israeli police declined to comment on the event.

While no formal charges have been brought against Netanyahu, he is a suspect of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases.

In one case, Netanyahu and his family are alleged to have received gifts from businessmen. These gifts, according to The Guardian, included expensive cigars, pink champagne and jewelry. Arnon Milchan, a renowned Hollywood producer, is among those who provided gifts to Netanyahu.

The question for investigators is whether or not these individuals intended to receive something in exchange for their gifts.

Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, had also been questioned by police as part of the Netanyahu investigation. It is claimed that Dermer had attempted to use his position to help Milchan acquire a U.S. visa.

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According to the Jerusalem Post, there are two other ways in which Netanyahu may have returned the favor for Milchan’s gifts: helping to establish a free-trade zone near the Jordanian border or by buying shares of Channel 10, an Israeli TV station that Milchan partially owns.

Milchan had previously testified in court that he delivered gifts to Netanyahu.

"It is allowed; according to the law; to receive gifts from friends... Arnon Milchan and I are friends for over 20 years. We are good friends, our wives are good friends," the prime minister said about the gifts he received.

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The other case involves a conversation that Netanyahu allegedly had with a newspaper publisher, Yedioth Ahronoth. Netanyahu allegedly promised to limit the publisher’s competition in the news sector with the guarantee of more positive coverage.

Netanyahu;s former chief of staff Ari Harow announced in August that he would testify against Netanyahu in both cases as a star-witness.

The prime minister has consistently denied all accusations.

"Netanyahu is an honest person,” Jacob Weinroth, Netanyahu’s lawyer, told the Israeli TV station, Channel 2. “If you ask him for a list of his successes and his failures, your jaw will drop. That said, he very much admires money. I know his weakness for wealthy people.”

Police stated recently that individuals close to Netanyahu –David Shimron, his personal lawyer, and Isaac Molcho, who has acted as a foreign representative for the prime minister – had been interrogated for four consecutive days over a US$2 billion submarine deal with Germany.

Netanyahu is not currently a suspect in this particular case but his role is being investigated.

While the investigations are ongoing, Netanyahu’s Likud Party continues to push legislation to protect the prime minister from a possible indictment.

Meanwhile, these investigations have damaged public opinion of both Netanyahu and the Likud Party. A recent Channel 12 poll found that a mere 38 percent of Israelis would like to see Netanyahu, who has been in power since 2009, serve another term.

Netanyahu said on his Twitter account after the questioning concluded: “I will tell you again tonight with absolute confidence: There will be nothing - because there was nothing!”

Channel 2 reports that police intend to interview Netanyahu three more times before deciding to move forward with an indictment.


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