Israeli Police to question PM, Netanyahu

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Netanyahu: faces criminal probe
Netanyahu: faces criminal probe

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is to be questioned by the the police over allegations of receiving gifts from businessmen, an action that breaches his role as a public servant.

The decision to question Netanyahu was sanctioned by Attorney-General, Avichai Mandelblit, after an initial probe.

Mandelblit said that there was sufficient evidence for a criminal investigation to be initiated, Israeli Haaretz newspaper reports.

Netanyahu is expected to be questioned on Monday but no specific time had been given neither has the nature of the questioning been disclosed.

However the Office of the Prime Minister had denied any wrongdoing.

“All the supposed affairs will turn out to be fiction, we are repeating: there will be nothing, because there is nothing.” His family spokesman said.

Haaretz and other newspapers said the probe related to gifts worth “hundreds of thousands of shekels given to Netanyahu by Israeli and foreign businessmen.

Another Israeli media however reports that the investigation will be on only one of two cases that had been instituted against the PM.

Netanyahu, 67, has been in power on and off since 1996. He is currently in his fourth term as prime minister and will become Israel’s longest-serving leader if he stays in office until the end of next year.

He and his wife, Sara, have weathered several scandals over the years, including investigations into the misuse of state funds and an audit of the family’s spending on everything from laundry to ice cream. They have denied any wrongdoing.

Netanyahu is not the first prime minister to be questioned in a criminal case.

Ehud Olmert, who held office from 2006 to 2009, is currently serving 18 months in prison after being convicted of breach of trust and bribery in 2014.

Former prime minister Ariel Sharon was questioned while in office in 2003 and 2004 over allegations of bribery and corruption involving him and his two sons.

In 2006, his son Omri was convicted of corruption and served time in prison.

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