Q&A: Netanyahu corruption allegations

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AFP)

Oliver Holmes

The Guardian  /  March 15, 2020

Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, indicted Netanyahu in November. It was the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been charged with a crime.

The 70-year-old leader, the longest-serving in the small country’s history, could face more than a decade in prison if convicted. He faces three separate inquiries, including charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Case 1,000
The first case, known as case 1,000, involves allegations of receiving gifts such as cigars, champagne and jewellery, from billionaires, including the Hollywood businessman Arnon Milchan and Australian casino operator James Packer, allegedly in exchange for favours. Milchan and Packer are not facing any charges.

Case 2,000
In case 2,000, Netanyahu is accused of colluding with the country’s top-selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, to hurt its competition in exchange for favourable coverage.

Case 4,000

In the third and most serious case, case 4,000, the prime minister is accused of offering incentives worth close to £200m to the Israeli telecoms provider Bezeq in exchange for positive stories on an online news website it owns.

How has he responded?

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, alleging he is the victim of a politically-motivated witch-hunt.

Is that it for his legal woes?

No. There was also a separate case not involving Netanyahu, but his wife, Sara, who was convicted in June of illegally misusing thousands of pounds of public funds for lavish meals, despite having an in-house cook provided by the state.