Netanyahu facing criminal charges as attorney-general launches 'corruption' investigation

Netanyahu facing criminal charges as attorney-general launches 'corruption' investigation
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has previously faced allegations over his finances, is reportedly the subject of a criminal investigation ordered by the country's attorney general.
2 min read
29 December, 2016
Binyamin Netanyahu could be summoned over two matters, Channel 10 TV reports [Getty]

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is subject of a criminal investigaton, the country's Channel 10 TV has claimed.

The country's attorney general Avichai Mandelblit has ordered police to launch an investigation over two matters.

The Channel 10 report on Wednesday said the most serious of the cases is "grave and supported by evidence" and was not known to the public.

Israel's justice ministry and police say they will provide a public announcement on the matter "in due course", while Ynet news website reports Netanyahu will be summoned for interrogation under police caution in the coming days.

In July, the attorney general announced he was looking into matters concerning Netanyahu but did not disclose what they were. Israeli media at the time reported they were related to Netanyahu's finances.

A Netanyahu spokesman told Israeli media there was "nothing" behind the suspicions.

In October, Israeli police's anti-fraud unit presented recommendations pushing to investigate suspicions of criminal acts allegedly involving Netanyahu.

Authorities have been looking into spending and gifts related to Netanyahu, though Mendelblit said at the time that a formal investigation had not been opened.

Netanyahu has in the past denied wrongdoing in the purchase of submarines from Germany, where media have reported a potential conflict of interest involving his lawyer.

The premier and his family have also been subject to a series of allegations over the past two decades, including the use of public funds in the Netanyahu household.

Israeli police recommended in 2000 that Netanyahu - then between his stints as prime minister - be charged with corruption over claims he and his wife, Sara, benefited from more than £60,000 in state gifts.

The attorney general refused, however, saying there were "difficulties with the evidence", which was not sufficient for a trial.

Netanyahu also admitted this year that he had accepted thousands of euros from Arnaud Mimran, who was later convicted of fraud and sentenced to eight years in prison.