The "Israeli" entity's police Tuesday recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery in two criminal investigations but the "Israeli" PM, calling the allegations baseless, vowed to remain in office.
Now deep in a cloud of uncertainty over his political future, the right-wing leader will await a final decision by the entity's attorney general on whether he will face charges, a process that could take months.
The recommendations, which police made public Tuesday, were at the more serious end of the range of charges that had been expected to be leveled against Netanyahu, now in his fourth term.
One of the cases, known as Case 1000, alleges the "committing of crimes of bribery, fraud and breach of trust by the Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu."
In a detailed statement, police named Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer and Israeli citizen, and Australian businessman James Packer, saying that they "over years awarded gifts of various types," including Champagne, cigars and jewelry to Netanyahu and his family.
In all, the gifts were worth more than 1 million shekels ($280,000).
Netanyahu's lawyers have said the presents were tokens of friendship and no quid pro quo was given.
The second, Case 2000, also alleges "bribery, fraud and breach of trust by the prime minister" and by the publisher of the biggest-selling Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Arnon Mozes. The two men, police say, discussed ways of slowing the growth of a rival daily, "Israel Hayom", "through legislation and other means." In a televised address just minutes after police made their calls public, Netanyahu said he had never sought personal gain in his public service.
"I will continue to lead ‘Israel' responsibly and faithfully for as long as you, the citizens of ‘Israel' choose me to lead you," he said.
"I am certain, I am certain, that the truth will be revealed, and I am certain that at the next elections I will earn your trust again."
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team