Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu charged with corruption

Israel’s Attorney General has formally indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over corruption, the Independent reports.

The development was a result of Netanyahu departing from his earlier move of seeking immunity from prosecution.

Netanyahu is currently in Washington for a meeting with US President Donald Trump.

The decision to file the indictment against the premier paves the way for a trial to continue, right before the election of March 2.

Netanyahu, who is Israel’s longest-running prime minister, was charged with fraud, breach of trust and bribery in November in three separate cases. He has denied any wrongdoing and repeatedly dismissed the legal proceedings as a “political witch hunt”.

He had originally sought immunity from the legal proceedings but changed his mind after it became clear Israel’s parliament the Knesset would convene on Tuesday to debate and ultimately reject his request.

Had that happened, it would have dealt a humiliating blow to the prime minister as he discusses the peace agreement with President Trump.

Ayman Odeh, leader of the joint list of mostly Arab parties in the Israeli parliament, said ”the path to trial is paved and no diplomatic public relations stunt in the world” would prevent him from being brought to justice.

Israeli analysts said that Netanyahu’s decision to drop the immunity bid was a face-saving move by his right-wing Likud party after the Ultra-Orthodox parties, who are Netanyahu’s most loyal allies, announced they were going to boycott the vote.

Last November, attorney general Avichai Mandelblit indicted Netanyahu on corruption charges, marking the first time a serving Israeli prime minister has ever been indicted.

 

 

 

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