The Times of Israel is reporting that police are calling on Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to allow them to open a full criminal investigation against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Monday, December 26th, Israeli police announced that they are absolutely convinced that a criminal investigation will be opened in the next few days due to new documents that were recently received in a special inquiry that began about 9 months ago.
The offenses that Netanyahu allegedly will face will be bribery and aggravated-fraud. In June it was reported that police had recently started their secret investigation, with demand that no details be leaked to the media.
Attorney General Mandelblit also allegedly instructed employees in the state prosecutor’s office to investigate allegations that Netanyahu accepted 1 million euros (about $1.1 million) from accused French fraudster Arnaud Mimran in 2009.
Earlier in December, in an apparently unrelated case, there were calls for the Netanyahu to be investigated for his role in a Defense Ministry deal to purchase submarines from a German company that is partly owned by the Iranian government.
The affair overtook public debate in Israel last month, as accusations came about that the Israeli prime minister may have been financially swayed in the decision by his personal counsel David Shimron, who himself had ties with the submarines’ builder, ThyssenKrupp. The purchase was opposed by sectors of the defense establishment, including former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.
A spokesman for Netanyahu defended the Prime Minister by telling The Times of Israel, “This is absolutely false. There was nothing and there will be nothing.”
What is most interesting about this news is the possible correlation with the U.S. decision to abstain from the vote in the United Nations that aims to stop Israeli construction on occupied Palestinian territory. While it only makes logical and legal sense for such construction to be halted, the U.S. decision not to support Israel is a public slap in the face and one that comes at a time where it also makes sense to ask a logical question: Does the U.S. know something about Netanyahu’s investigation and possible crimes and are they now seeking to publicly separate themselves from the controversial Israeli Prime Minister?
However, speculation that Netanyahu has been deeply involved in corruption, bribery and even war crimes have been circulating for years and if indeed true, won’t surprise many.
Will “Bibi” slide away from this scandal unscathed or will this result in criminal charges? What changes might this possible criminal investigation have on the dynamic between Netanyahu and incoming U.S. President Donald Trump? If investigated, will Trump come to the defense of Bibi, or will Trump begin to distance himself as well? This one could get really interesting to watch.
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