Netanyahu may face criminal investigation following new evidence

Netanyahu may face criminal investigation following new evidence
Two influential people have brought their testimony against Benjamin Netanyahu to the police, raising the possibility of a proper criminal investigation against him.
2 min read
29 January, 2017
The Israeli Prime Minister denied any wrong-doing in Parliament on Wednesday [Getty]

Israel's Prime Minister may now have to face a full criminal investigation into two separate allegations of corruption following the emergence of new evidence.

Benjamin Netanyahu may now have to face new questioning after a former Israeli defence minister and a newspaper owner formally testified against him.

According to a special programme aired by Israel's Channel 2 on Saturday evening, ex-defence minister Moshe Ya'alon has given testimony to the police that the prime minister was directly involved in negotiating the illicit purchase of submarines from the German firm ThyssenKrupp.

The case, referred to as "Case 3000", represents a conflict of interest for the prime minister, as his family lawyer, David Shimron, was a major player in the deal.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit first ordered the police to investigate the matter in November, after reports emerged that Shimron may have wrongly influenced Netanyahu over the deal.

Ya'alon and Netanyahu publicly fell out in May 2016, after the defence minister was forced out of his role in favour of Yisrael Beytenu chief, Avigdor Liberman.

In a separate corruption case, referred to as "Case 2000", Arnon Mozes, the publisher of the Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, has also reportedly issued the police with documentary evidence that the Netanyahu directly runs his newspaper.

The Channel 2 programme alleged that Mozes gave the police a suitcase of evidence, showing he had given a "personal and political donation to Netanyahu" in the form of the ownership of his paper.

Netanyahu has denied any wrong-doing, saying that receiving gifts from friends was not a crime and that the allegations were instigated by his political enemies.

During prime minister's questions at Parliament on Wednesday, he said that "no crime was committed".