Police recommend Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted for bribery

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Israeli police have recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on bribery charges involving Israel's telecom giant.

The decision whether to indict falls to Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit, who still hasn't ruled on the two other corruption cases in which police have already said Netanyahu should be indicted.

The Israeli prime minister, however, dismissed the accusations against himself and his wife, saying the recommendations had already been determined "even before the investigations began".

"The police recommendations regarding me and my wife don't surprise anyone", he said in a statement.

Mr Netanyahu rejected the allegations in what is known as Case 4000. Elovitch, in return, ordered Bezeq Group's Walla news to provide favourable coverage for Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu.

Investigators said Netanyahu should stand trial on charges of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust and fraudulently accepting benefits.

Two key figures have turned state's witnesses in the case, including former media adviser to the Netanyahu family Nir Hefetz.

In a statement on Sunday, the Israeli leader said that the allegations had no legal basis.

The case involved suspicions that Netanyahu, in his role as communications minister from 2014 to 2017, while he was also the premier, made controversial decisions that benefited Shaul Elovitch, who controlled Israel's largest telecommunications company, Bezeq.

This is the third such police recommendation against Netanyahu in recent months.

"The most serious bribery case yet leaves no room for doubt: a prime minister who is accused of the most serious offense for a public servant in the Israeli rule book can not keep serving one minute longer", said Tamar Zandberg, head of the dovish opposition Meretz party.

Mr Netanyahu did not mention the allegations in his comments at the start of a cabinet meeting later in the day.

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

They recommended Sara Netanyahu face charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and obstruction of evidence.

In the second case, Mr Netanyahu is suspected of receiving gifts worth at least a million shekels ($270,000; £210,000) from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and other supporters. Other former employees have accused her of mistreatment, charges the Netanyahus have vehemently denied, and of excessive spending and charging the state for her private, expensive tastes.