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Lieberman: Israel PM to ‘retire’ if indicted over graft

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman [James N. Mattis/Flickr]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman [James N. Mattis/Flickr]

Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman does not rule out that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will retire from politics if he is indicted over corruption charges before the general election in April.

“Although it’s fair to say that the decision is taken to bring charges against Benjamin Netanyahu before the election, his chances of forming a government will be zero,” Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonoth quoted Lieberman as saying.

“Therefore, I am not ruling out the possibility that Netanyahu will strike a plea deal before the elections,” he said.

“I am not ruling out the possibility that Netanyahu will ultimately go with a plea deal similar to the one struck by former President Ezer Weizman,” Lieberman said.

Netanyahu is currently under investigation in three separate corruption cases, in which he has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Read: Retired judge urges issue of Netanyahu indictments despite election

The first case involves Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, who was allegedly asked to purchase luxury items for Netanyahu and his wife.

The second relates to an alleged deal for favorable media coverage with Arnon Mozes, publisher of prominent Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

In a third case, Netanyahu is accused of awarding favors to Israel’s Bezeq Telecom Company in return for favorable coverage on the company’s website.

Last month, Israeli Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said that he would decide whether or not to indict Netanyahu on multiple graft charges before Knesset elections slated for April 9.

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