Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust, making him the first sitting prime minister to face prosecution.
The news comes as Israel’s caretaker government was ordered today to form a government after Netanyahu twice failed to bring together a coalition following two elections this year.
Netanyahu is entangled in four political scandals: Case 1000 which involves allegations that the PM and his wife accepted illegal gifts from businessmen; Case 2000 which accuses Netanyahu of attempting to buy favourable newspaper coverage; Case 3000, also known as the “submarine scandal”; and Case 4000, in which a close associate of Netanyahu is suspected of providing confidential information to Israel’s largest telecoms company.
Bezeq and Walla! owner Shaul Elovitch and his wife, Iris, were also indicted today for bribery and obstruction of justice as part of Case 4000 . In addition, the owner of Yedioth Ahronoth, Arnon Nuni Mozes, was indicted for bribery as part of Case 2000.
Netanyahu, who has denied wrongdoing in three corruption cases, is under no obligation to resign after being charged and is due to make a statement later.
He has previously dismissed the investigations into him as a “witch hunt”.