Israeli Prime Minister under threat from third corruption case

Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrive for a news conference at the Ministry

Israeli police have said they have found evidence to recommend pursuing bribery and corruption charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife.

In a joint statement from Israel's police and the Israel securities authority, police said they also found sufficient evidence to charge Mr Netanyahu's family friend, Shaul Elovitch, with bribery.

"Netanyahu and those close to him bluntly intervened, sometimes on a daily basis, with the content being published on the Walla news website, and sought to influence the appointment of senior employees (editors and reporters), while using their ties to Shaul and Iris Elovitch", the police statement read.

This time it is on suspicion that the leader eased business regulations for the country's largest telecommunications company in exchange for favourable coverage for him and his wife on a popular news website owned by the firm.

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His opponents called for him to resign as soon as possible in light of the allegations, which follow police recommendations last February to charge him in two other corruption cases, and yet another case against his wife for breach of public trust.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and claims he is the victim of a media witch hunt.

Police say there is enough evidence to charge Elovitch with bribery, interfering with an investigation, and financial crimes.

The Bezeq case, known as Case 4000, is the most serious of all those of which Netanyahu has been accused. These recommendations were decided and leaked before the investigation had even begun.

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The police recommendations do not have any immediate impact on Netanyahu.

Talk of early elections has become a staple of Israel's political landscape in recent months, but polls have shown the cascade of allegations against Netanyahu wouldn't cost him a fifth term.

A week later, his wife was indicted for allegedly misusing a total of 350,000 shekels (around US$96,000) in official funds to order extravagant meals at their official residence in Jerusalem between 2010 and 2013.

"He'll send a message to the attorney general that everyone knew about these three police reports and they still voted for him and want him in power", Hazan said. The White House is trying to build a coalition of Middle Eastern leaders to deter Iran, to that end encouraging the warming of relations between Israel and Arab states that outwardly shun it and sidelining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "There was no fraud, no breach of trust or any other felony". Those benefits included restricting competition in the Israeli ground-line phone market, among other decisions taken by Netanyahu in the years he served as communications minister.

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