בנימין נתניהו כנסת חיטוי מיקרופון
Netanyahu cleans up microphone in the Knesset
Photo: AFP
Netanyahu cleans up microphone in the Knesset

Ahead of opening hearing: Why is Netanyahu facing trial?

In-depth: Although bribery charges carry a sentence of up to 10 years in jail plus fine, it's unlikely that PM's fate will be known anytime soon as the trial could last years or end up in a plea deal entirely

Reuters |
Published: 05.20.20 , 12:57
A week after being sworn into office for a fifth term, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will go on trial on May 24, charged with corruption.
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  • WHAT ARE THE CHARGES AGAINST NETANYAHU?
    Bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu, 70, was indicted in three criminal cases last November. He denies all wrongdoing.
    בנימין נתניהו כנסת חיטוי מיקרופוןבנימין נתניהו כנסת חיטוי מיקרופון
    Netanyahu cleans up microphone in the Knesset
    (Photo: AFP)
    CASE 4000 alleges that Netanyahu granted regulatory favours worth around 1.8 billion shekels (about $500 million) to Israeli telecommunications company Bezeq Telecom Israel.
    In return, prosecutors say, he sought positive coverage of himself and his wife on a news website controlled by the company's former chairman, Shaul Elovitch.
    In this case, Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Elovitch and his wife, Iris, have been charged with bribery and obstruction of justice. The couple deny wrongdoing.
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    Shaul Elovitch with his wife
    CASE 1000, in which Netanyahu has been charged with fraud and breach of trust, centres on allegations that he and wife Sara wrongfully received almost 700,000 shekels worth of gifts from Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer and Israeli citizen, and Australian billionaire businessman James Packer.
    Prosecutors said gifts included champagne and cigars and that Netanyahu helped Milchan with his business interests. Neither Packer nor Milchan face charges.
    נוני מוזסנוני מוזס
    Arnon Mozes
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    CASE 2000 alleges that Netanyahu negotiated a deal with Arnon Mozes, owner of Ynet's sister publication - newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth - for better coverage. In return, the prime minister allegedly offered legislation that would slow the growth of a rival newspaper. Netanyahu has been charged with fraud and breach of trust. Mozes has been charged with offering a bribe, and denies wrongdoing.
    WHAT DOES NETANYAHU SAY?
    Netanyahu says he is the victim of a politically orchestrated "witch hunt" by the media and the left to oust him from office.
    Loyalists in Netanyahu's right-wing Likud Party have accused the justice system of bias, and Netanyahu has said receiving gifts from friends was not against the law.
    His legal team says criminal investigations into relations between politicians and the news media threaten press freedom.
    הפגנה של ארגוני הימין מול ביתו של היועמ"ש אביחי מנדלבליט בכיכר גורן פתח תקווההפגנה של ארגוני הימין מול ביתו של היועמ"ש אביחי מנדלבליט בכיכר גורן פתח תקווה
    Pro-Netanyahu demo in front of AG house
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi )
    WILL A VERDICT COME SOON?
    Unlikely. The trial could take years. Netanyahu could also seek a plea deal rather than go through the trial process.
    COULD NETANYAHU GO TO JAIL, IF CONVICTED?
    Bribery charges carry a sentence of up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine. Fraud and breach of trust carry a prison sentence of up to three years.

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