Police recommendations against Netanyahu 'internal matter'

It will be up to Israel’s attorney general to decide whether to file charges a process that could take weeks if not months

It will be up to Israel’s attorney general to decide whether to file charges a process that could take weeks if not months

"No one, not I, not anyone else, has plans to go to an election", Netanyahu told local government officials in Tel Aviv.

Opposition leaders have called on the embattled prime minister to step - however he has insisted his government remains stable, dismissing the allegations as "biased" and "full of holes like Swiss cheese".

The police statement said that Mr Netanyahu, after receiving gifts, pushed for the Milchan Law, which would have ensured that Israelis who return to live in Israel from overseas were exempt from paying taxes for 10 years.

Justice Minister Alet Shaked has already said that even with formal charges, the prime minister is not required to resign.

Like the other members of the coalition, Bennett said he would wait to hear the attorney general's conclusion and not call on Netanyahu to step down.

He stated that his government is stable and no early election is being planned.

While ministers and mayors are required to resign if indicted, Israeli law is less clear when it comes to the prime minister. The investigations also helped to keep deputy head of government Ehud Olmert in jail for more than 14 months, convicted of real estate corruption offenses in 2016, and had to relinquish office in 2009.

It is now up to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, a former military advocate general and ex-cabinet secretary who was appointed to the country's top legal post by Netanyahu, to decide whether to file criminal charges. Netanyahu can remain in office during that process, which is expected to drag on for months.

Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu has hit back after police said he should be charged over alleged bribery cases.

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There was no immediate reaction from Netanyahu, who has been prime minister for a total of almost 12 years, and police declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

"I will continue to lead Israel responsibly and faithfully for as long as you, the citizens of Israel, choose me to lead you", he said.

In a detailed statement, police named Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer and Israeli citizen, and Australian businessman James Packer, saying that for almost a decade, from 2007 to 2016, they gave gifts that included champagne, cigars and jewelry to Netanyahu and his family.

A police statement said there was sufficient evidence against Mr Netanyahu on suspicion of "fraud and breach of trust in connection with the Australian businessman James Packer".

Mr Netanyahu's lawyers have said the presents were simply tokens of friendship and no favours were given in return.

Police said that, in return, Mr Netanyahu had operated on Mr Milchan's behalf on USA visa matters, legislated a tax break and connected him with an Indian businessman. In exchange, police say Netanyahu used his power to help Milchan in a number of ways, like helping to extend a USA visa and aiding businesses and deals in which Milchan had a stake.

In news that sent shockwaves through the political system, it emerged that Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition Yesh Atid party, had given evidence about Mr Netanyahu's efforts to benefit Mr Milchan that he saw during his term as finance minister. "This is the same Lapid who vowed to topple me at any cost", he added according to the Times of Israel.

The second allegation involves Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, who police said gave gifts to Netanyahu worth at least a million shekels ($283,000). "I tell you, also this time, things will end up with nothing", he said.

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