Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Indicted on Charges of Bribery, Fraud, and Breach of Trust

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opens the weekly Cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office Nov. 17.
Gali Tibbon / Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced Thursday.

Netanyahu, who has denied any wrongdoing and said he is the victim of a politically orchestrated “witch hunt,” faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of bribery and a maximum 3-year term for fraud and breach of trust, according to legal experts.

In February, Mandelblit announced he was considering indicting Netanyahu on one count of bribery and three counts of fraud and breach of trust, in three different cases. The cases are known as Case 1000, Case 2000 and Case 4000.

Case 1000 alleges that Netanyahu received gifts, including cigars and champagne, worth “hundreds of thousands of shekels” from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and other supporters.

Case 2000 alleges that Netanyahu worked out a deal for favorable coverage with Arnon “Noni” Moses, the publisher of an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, in exchange for backing a bill that would weaken a rival newspaper.

Case 4000 alleges that Netanyahu made regulatory decisions that favored the Bezeq telecommunications group in exchange for positive coverage on the news website Walla.

The indictment comes while Netanyahu is serving as Israel’s caretaker prime minister after he failed to cobble together a government last month.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Saphora Smith and Paul Goldman