Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu charged with fraud and bribery

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu charged with fraud and bribery

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged in a series of corruption scandals.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit issued an indictment on Thursday charging Mr Netanyahu with fraud, breach of trust and bribery.

Mr Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing and said he is a victim of a witch-hunt. He is due to make a statement on Thursday evening.

The decision is likely to have a major impact on Mr Netanyahu’s chances of staying in office (Ronen Zvulun/Pool/AP)
The decision is likely to have a major impact on Mr Netanyahu’s chances of staying in office (Ronen Zvulun/Pool/AP)

But the decision to charge him is likely to deal a heavy blow to Mr Netanyahu’s hopes of remaining in office.

Israel has recently held two inconclusive elections, with a third likely amid an ongoing political impasse.

The allegations against Mr Netanyahu include suspicions that he accepted hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of champagne and cigars from billionaire friends, offered to trade favours with a newspaper publisher, and used his influence to help a wealthy telecoms magnate in exchange for favourable coverage on a popular news site.

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