UPDATED 2019/03/01 3:00PM
Israel’s attorney general announced on Thursday, February 28th, that his office plans to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges. The indictment comes after a two-year investigation into the prime minister’s conduct. Netanyahu faces one count of bribery and three counts of breach of trust.
With elections only six-weeks away, Netanyahu is calling the prosecution’s announcement a “witch hunt,” calling the charges “outrageous” and an attack on him by his liberal opponents. He vowed to refute all allegations, calling them “blood libel.”
This is not the first time that Netanyahu has found himself in trouble with the law. Police have previous recommended indicting the prime minister for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three different cases.
The most serious allegations against the prime minister involve his ties to the controlling shareholder of Israel’s telecom tech giant Bezeq, Shaul Bezeq. Police have said their investigation concluded that the men engaged in a “bribe-based relationship.” Police also accused the PM of corruption twice, the first instance involves accepting gifts from billionaire friends, and the second revolves around trading legislation for favorable news coverage.
The 69-year-old is currently serving his third term as prime minister and the timing of the indictment has people wondering how it will affect the upcoming election. Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. He claims that his predecessors have received small gifts similar to what he has been accused of taking, but they were not charged, furthering his claims that this investigation is simply a “witch hunt.”