JERUSALEM – Israeli police recommended on Tuesday that prosecutors file charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery and breach of public trust based on the findings of two year-long investigations.
Regarding the case known as File 1000, police said they found sufficient evidence that Netanyahu traded official favors for roughly $300,000 worth of gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.
Milchan, who was part of films such as “Pretty Woman” and “JFK,” asked Netanyahu to assist him with matters relating to US visas.
The prime minister acknowledges helping Milchan and that he and his family received champagne, expensive cigars and other gifts from the film producer, but denies that there was any quid pro quo.
The other probe, File 2000, concerned allegations that Netanyahu sought positive press coverage from Yediot Ahronot publisher Arnon Mozes by offering to curb a rival pro-government free daily.
Police said they found those allegations to be well-founded and that they have enough evidence to accuse both Milchan and Mozes of bribing a public official.
Following the police statement, Netanyahu appeared on television to call the potential criminal charges part of a project “to topple me from government.”
He accused police and media of slandering him and his family.
Recalling that earlier scandals had “ended with nothing,” Netanyahu predicted that “this time as well they will end with nothing.”
He likewise rejected opposition demands that he step down pending possible court proceedings that could drag on for months.
“I will continue to lead the state of Israel responsibly and loyally as long as you, the citizens of Israel choose me to lead you. I am sure that the truth will come to light. And I am sure that also in the next election that will take place on time I will win your trust again with God’s help,” the prime minister said.