Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's defense lawyers arrived on Sunday morning at the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem for a third pre-indictment hearing, where they will try to convince the attorney general that Israel's leader did not receive illicit gifts from two business moguls.
Netanyahu faces possible indictment in three criminal corruption investigations known as Cases 4000, 1000 and 2000. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit already has recommended that Netanyahu be indicted on fraud, breach of trust and bribery charges.
Sunday's hearing will focus on Case 1000 which alleges Netanyahu has received expensive gifts worth up to one million shekels from billionaire Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.
The defense lawyers in Case 1000, Amit Hadad and Yossi Askenazi said shortly before the hearing was due to begin that once the attorney general hears their arguments “there will be no choice but to close the cases.”
The first two hearings focused solely on Case 4000, which involves an alleged plan to ease regulations for telecommunications mogul and Bezeq chief Shaul Elovitch in return for positive coverage on his Walla! news website.
The hearing is expected to last at least four days, and it could take weeks for the attorney general to render his final decision.
However, legal experts say the likelihood of an indictment is high, given the mountains of evidence collected by police over years of investigations and the prosecution’s seeming consensus of pursuing a trial.