Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was heard Monday by the police of the jewish State, for three hours to answer allegations of malfeasance against him. He is accused of having received “gifts illegal” on the part of business men, according to several media outlets. “No other details cannot be given at this stage,” said a spokesperson of the police in a press release. Public radio said that the three investigators had arrived at around 18: 30 (16: 30 GMT) at the residence of Benjamin Netanyahu is located in a quiet, upscale neighborhood in the center of Jerusalem. According to media reports, israeli entrepreneurs and foreigners have offered to Benjamin Netanyahu – who has denied the charges – gifts with a value estimated at several tens of thousands of dollars, which could, if the facts were confirmed, claiming him an indictment for ” abuse of trust “.
The media also report on a second case that could bring on charges more serious corruption, but without giving the slightest detail. Interviewed by the Agence France-Presse, the spokesman for the police and the Prime minister’s office have refused to confirm or deny this information. The guards around the official residence of Benjamin Netanyahu had deployed over grids of paintings of black fabric to hide the building to allow apparently an arrival discreet investigators, noted a journalist of the Agence France-Presse.
These paintings have been maintained after the start of his interrogation, which, according to media reports, is expected to last several hours. In messages on his page Facebook, Benjamin Netanyahu defended Monday of any wrongdoing, accusing his political opponents and some media of wanting to ” bring him down, not at the time of elections as provided for in the democracy “, but by mounting a campaign against him. He reaffirmed, at the opening of the meeting of the Likud in the Knesset, including a video webcast has been posted on his page Facebook : “there will be nothing, because there is nothing. “A formula he already used several times in the past to respond to its critics.
“We mean information (circulating) in the media. We see (…) the atmosphere and the festive spirit in the tv studios and the halls of the opposition, ” he added. “I want to tell them to wait for the festivities. Don’t rush, ” he continued ironically. According to the latest polls, the Prime minister, in power without interruption since 2009, remains the politician that the Israelis deem the most fit to lead the country. The one the Israelis call “Bibi” has for the moment no serious competitor. The israeli law provides that any member of a government against which an indictment for corruption is presented needs to resign.
An eight-month investigation
One of the relatives of Benjamin Netanyahu, the minister of regional Cooperation, Tzahi Hanegbi, warned on Monday the military radio, “a campaign of provocation and incitement led by the media” to put pressure on the attorney general Avishai Mandelblit to allow the police to interrogate the Prime minister. On the other hand, a part of the commentators criticize Avishai Mandelblit, appointed with the support of Benjamin Netanyahu, to have drawn out the case, refusing for months to give the police the green light to interrogation.
For eight months, the police have conducted investigations in secret on this folder. The questioning of fifty or so witnesses have led to the recent” save a breakthrough “, according to media reports. Among the respondents figure Ronald Lauder, president of the world jewish Congress and a member of the family of the founder of the cosmetics group american Estée Lauder. He was interviewed on 30 September by investigators while he was in Israel on the occasion of the funeral of former president Shimon Peres. In another case, in November, the prosecutor-general had ordered an investigation into allegations suggesting improper conduct on the part of someone close to Benjamin Netanyahu in the purchase of three German submarines by the jewish State.
The Prime minister has also acknowledged having received the money from the French magnate Arnaud Mimran, who was ejected in July from an eight-year sentence in prison for a scam to carbon tax of € 283 million. The israeli justice system can have a heavy hand in the corruption cases. The predecessor of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has been serving since February of 2016 a sentence of ten-to-nine months in prison after having touched bribes.