• Israel: Netanyahu’s Confidant Testifies in Graft Case

    A confidant of Benjamin Netanyahu is testifying about alleged government favors to a telecom tycoon in return for favorable media coverage of the Israeli Prime Minister, Hareetz reported Wednesday.

  • Israeli Police Call For Netanyahu to be Indicted

    Israeli police recommended on Tuesday that Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted for allegedly accepting bribes and breaching public trust, leaving the Attorney General to decide whether to ultimately press charges on the embattled politician. 

    Benjamin Netanyahu faces a fight for his political survival (Photo: Russian Presidency)

    The news that Netanyahu’s acceptance of almost US$300,000 in gifts from two billionaires amounted to bribery, according to the police’s announcement, reverberated throughout Israel.

    Police have been investigating Netanyahu in regards to two cases for more than a year: one where he allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for lending his influence while another concerns suspicions he conspired with the publisher of a newspaper.

    A police statement said Netanyahu accepted gifts worth 750,000 shekels (now US $214,000) from Hollywood honcho Arnon Milchan, and 250,000 shekels (now $71,000) from an Australian billionaire, James Packer. The gifts from Milchan reportedly included expensive cigars, champagne and jewelry.

    Police said that in exchange for the presents, Netanyahu had operated on Milchan’s behalf on U.S. visa matters, oversaw a tax break and introduced him to an Indian businessman. Police confirmed there is also sufficient evidence to charge both Milchan and Mozes with bribery.

    In the other probe, Netanyahu allegedly asked the publisher of a Israeli newspaper, Yadiot Ahronot daily, for favourable coverage in exchange for weakening a free competitor newspaper.

    Netanyahu’s position appears to be secure for now, with Israeli politicians largely sticking to partisan lines. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the nationalistic Jewish Home party that is part of the ruling coalition, however, reserved some criticism for the veteran politician. He said Netanyahu could keep serving but was “not living up to the standard” expected of his office.

    Netanyahu staunchly vowed to carry on. He claimed that the year-long graft inquiry was politically motivated. “After reading the recommendations report i can say it is a biased extreme document,” he said in a speech on Wednesday. “[It’s] full of holes like swiss cheese and it doesn’t hold water.”

    Ehud Barak, the former Prime Minister and a bitter rival of Netanyahu, beckoned him to suspend himself and for the coalition government to appoint a replacement as soon as possible. “The depth of corruption is horrifying,” Barak said, according to The Guardian. “This does not look like nothing. This looks like bribery.”

    It’s not the first time Netanyahu has been embroiled in scandal. The Associated Press listed influence peddling and excessive travel and household expenses among a litany of examples where he may have fallen short of the high expectations demanded of those in his position.

    Earlier this year a recording of a conversation between Netanyahu’s eldest son, Yair, and his friends from a drunken night out in Tel Aviv where a taxpayer funded government vehicle ferried them between strip clubs.

    Yair was berating the son of Israeli tycoon, Kobi Maimon, for insisting he repays money borrowed in a strip club, because “My dad arranged $20 billion for your dad,” according to The Washington Post.

    In 2016 it was revealed that Netanyahu spent more than $600,000 of public funds on a six-day trip to New York that included $1,600 on a personal hairdresser.

    Three years prior, he was found to have spent $127,000 in public funds on a sleeping cabin on a flight to London. Meanwhile, his office reportedly accumulated a $2,700 bill, at a Jerusalem ice cream parlour last year.

  • Paradise Papers: Billionaire Facing Inquiry by US D.O.J.

    A wealthy Israeli businessman who was implicated in the Paradise Papers leak is being investigated by the Department of Justice for allegedly bribing high-ranking officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Guardian reported Sunday.

  • Israelis Protest Against Corruption

    Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv this weekend for the eighth consecutive week to protest corruption and to pressure Benjamin Netanyahu to resign as prime minister, the Times of Israel reported.

  • Israelis Protest Against Corruption

    Around 20,000 Israelis gathered in an upscale Tel Aviv neighborhood Saturday night to protest government corruption and an impending bill in the Israeli Knesset, reported Reuters and Israeli media.

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu Questioned in Graft Probe

    Israeli police probed PM Benjamin Netanyahu a fifth time on Thursday for suspected involvement in two corruption cases, reported Reuters.

  • Israel: Ex Minister Pleads Guilty to Corruption

    The Tel Aviv magistrate’s court has indicted a former tourism minister who pleaded guilty to fraud and breach of trust in connection with funding for a student festival.

  • Six New Arrests in Israel's “Submarine Affair” Corruption Probe

     Israeli police arrested six government and military officials on Sunday in connection with alleged corruption in a US$2 billion deal to buy submarines and naval vessels from a German company.

  • Israel Detains Billionaire Beny Steinmetz in Money Laundering Probe

     Israeli authorities detained on Monday Beny Steinmetz, one of the country’s richest men, and four other money laundering and fraud suspects,media reported.

  • Israel: 10 Yisrael Beytenu Party Officials Indicted in Far-reaching Corruption Scandal

    Israel state prosecutors filed on Tuesday indictments for various corruption charges against 10 public officials linked to the far-right Yisrael Beytenu (Israel is Our Home) political party, Israeli media reported.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is Suspect in Fraud Investigation

    Israeli police have accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate investigations, the Guardian reported Friday.
  • Israel Arrests Five Ancient Antique Dealers in US Smuggling Scandal

    Israeli police Sunday arrested five antiquity dealers in East Jerusalem, seizing relics that date back millennia in connection to a smuggling scandal involving the US arts and crafts chain store Hobby Lobby.

  • Israel: New Deal with Germany Postponed after “Submarine Affair” Investigation Expands

    Germany postponed the sale of three submarines to Israel after authorities in Tel Aviv expanded their investigation into a series of multi-million dollar purchases of naval equipment that have become known as the “submarine affair,” The Times of Israel reported Tuesday.

  • Israel: 7 Questioned Over Suspicions of Bribery, Money Laundering in "Submarine Affair"

    The Israeli police questioned a seventh individual Tuesday related to suspect multi-million dollar purchases of three German submarines and naval boats in a developing case being called the "submarine affair."

  • Peru Seeks New Arrest Warrant for Fugitive ex-President Toledo

    Peruvian prosecutors are waiting for a local judge to sign off on a second arrest warrant for ex-President Alejandro Toledo after the U.S. declined to detain him, mediareported Tuesday.

  • Israel: Police Bust Network Trafficking The Disabled

    Israeli police arrested six people on Monday for allegedly trafficking speech and hearing impaired people from Eastern Europe and forcing them to beg on the streets.

  • Israel: Police Probe $65 Million Fraud at World's Largest Diamond Exchange

    Israeli police are investigating a possible US$ 65 million fraud at the world’s largest diamond exchange in Ramat Gan, a city east of Tel Aviv, the Guardian reported.

  • Ukraine Toxic Chemical Clean-up Under Investigation

    photo by: Anastasia Vlasova/KyivPostBetween 2011  and 2013, an Israeli company called S.I. Group Consort Ltd. won a series of contracts worth more than 1 billion Ukrainian hryvnia (about US$ 125 million at the time) to clean up a hazardous waste sludge pit near the Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine.

  • The Murky Business of an Israeli MP in Bulgaria

    oren-hazan-casinoIsraeli Deputy Speaker of Parliament Oren Hazan of the ruling Likud Party and several of his relatives have ties to a Bulgarian resort hotel connected to organized crime and to a casino in that hotel, an investigation by OCCRP partner Bivol reveals.

  • Israel: Former Prime Minister Guilty in Bribery Case

    Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been found guilty of accepting bribes in a corruption retrial at Jerusalem District Court.

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