Pre-indictment hearings on Netanyahu’s corruption cases begin

October 2, 2019 by Arye Green -TPS
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-indictment hearings before Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit regarding three corruption cases began Wednesday and will take place over four days.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Avichai Mandelblit   Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO 

Mandelblit announced in February that he plans to indict Netanyahu, pending a hearing, for fraud, bribery and breach of trust in three criminal cases.

The hearings are Netanyahu’s last legal stop before Mandelblit decides whether or not to indict him. Such an indictment is likely to be detrimental to Netanyahu politically as he attempts to form a government, significantly weakening his negotiating power.

Last week Netanyahu urged Mandelblit to allow his upcoming hearing to be broadcasted live to the Israeli public but Mandelblit denied the request.

Earlier, Netanyahu sent Mandelblit a document in which he pleaded not guilty. The document included only a general denial of the charges. The one-page document did not elaborate on Netanyahu’s plea and did not explain his actions in the various cases.

During the hearings, Netanyahu’s attorneys will attempt to undermine the accusations against Netanyahu and convince Mandelblit to drop the charges against him.

Mandelblit has said that he might change his mind after the hearings.

“I find the hearing process extremely important. Any argument will be heard with an open mind; I mean it. I heard some people claim they already know what my decision will be after the hearings. I have an open mind,” he said.

The first two days of the hearings will focus on the Bezeq-Walla affair, known as Case 4000. Next week, the hearings will discuss Case 2000, regarding Netanyahu’s relations with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes, and Case 1000, involving Netanyahu allegedly receiving illegal gifts.

Case 4000 alleges that Shaul Elovitch, former owner of Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq and of the Walla! news portal, pressured his CEO, Ilan Yeshua, to arrange positive coverage of Netanyahu on Walla! in exchange for the prime minister advancing regulations that would benefit Elovitch. The regulatory benefits were worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Bezeq, of which Elovitch was a major shareholder at the time.

Case 2000 alleges bribery between Netanyahu and Yedioth Aharonoth owner Arnon Mozes. Netanyahu supposedly offered to use his power to hinder the influence of Yedioth’s main rival, Israel Hayom, through legislation that would minimize Israel Hayom’s distribution, in return for Yedioth’s reduction of negative coverage of Netanyahu.

Case 1000 involves expensive gifts that Netanyahu allegedly received from wealthy supporters, particularly from Israeli-born movie producer Arnon Milchan, possibly in return for favours.

Netanyahu’s attorneys will claim that the evidence consists of partial quotes and confessions that were made under extreme pressure, and do not constitute a strong enough case for the indictment of a sitting prime minister.

A detailed legal discussion regarding the evidence will commence only if Mandelblit decides to indict Netanyahu.


One Response to “Pre-indictment hearings on Netanyahu’s corruption cases begin”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    The Israeli legal system appears to be a farce to Australians.

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