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A look at the legal issues facing Netanyahu – Israel News



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, vote, September 17, 2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, voted on September 17, 2019.
(photo credit: CHAIM TZACH / GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attempt to prevent a corruption charge at a series of pre-trial hearings beginning Wednesday, in which he will try to convince Israel's attorney general not to press charges.
The political survival of Israel's senior leader, who denies any criminal wrongdoing, is also clouded by his failure to win a clear victory in this year's two parliamentary elections, in April and last month.

Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party, leads an interim government after the inconclusive September 17 elections. He was chosen last week to form a government and has been trying to build a national unity coalition with his main rival Benny Gantz, but Gantz says he will not be part of a cabinet led by a prime minister facing charges.

Here is a guide to the criminal cases surrounding Netanyahu.

What are the allegations against Netanyahu?

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced in February that he intends to file criminal charges against Netanyahu in investigations listed as cases 4000, 1000 and 2000, pending the outcome of the hearings. Netanyahu could face charges of fraud and breach of trust in all three cases, and bribery in case 4000.

Netanyahu says he is the victim of a politically orchestrated "witch hunt" by the media and the left to oust him.

CASE 4000 claims that Netanyahu has granted regulatory favors to Israel's leading telecommunications company, Bezeq Telecom Israel, in exchange for his and his wife Sara's positive coverage on a news site controlled by the company's former president.

CASE 1000 claims that Netanyahu and his wife have been misappropriated by Arnon Milchan, a leading Hollywood producer and Israeli citizen, and Australian billionaire James Packer, including champagne and cigars.

In CASE 2000, Netanyahu is suspected of negotiating a deal with Israel's top selling daily newspaper owner, Yedioth Ahronoth, for better coverage in exchange for legislation that would slow the growth of a rival daily newspaper.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF PRETRIAL HEARING?

It gives the prime minister's legal team a chance to argue against potential charges and persuade the attorney general to dismiss or reduce them. It is unclear whether Netanyahu will attend the hearings, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday and the following Sunday and Monday. After hearing the arguments, the attorney general must decide by the end of December whether to indict Netanyahu.

WHAT HAPPENS IF NETANYAHU IS LOADED?

If Netanyahu is indicted, it may take several months before his trial begins. Netanyahu could also seek a court settlement instead of being tried.

If he is still in the post of prime minister, Netanyahu would have no strict legal obligation to leave office. Under Israeli law, a prime minister must resign if convicted, but may remain in office throughout the judicial process, including appeals.

Netanyahu's supporters in the legislature said they would support granting parliamentary immunity against the prosecution, but it is unclear whether there are enough lawmakers who would support such a move.

IF CONVENED IN A JUDGMENT, WHAT DOES NETANYAHU FACE?

Bribery charges have a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and / or fine. Fraud and breach of trust have a prison sentence of up to three years.

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