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Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Why is Israel's Netanyahu facing trial?

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Why is Israel's Netanyahu facing trial?
Why is Israel's Netanyahu facing trial?

A week after being sworn into office for a fifth term, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will go on trial on May 24, charged with corruption.

Francesca Lynagh reports.

A week after being sworn into office for a fifth term, 70-year-old Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will go on trial.

But what exactly are the charges against him?

Bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

In short, there are three different cases against him.

In CASE 4000, Netanyahu allegedly granted regulatory favors worth around $500 million to a telecommunications company… in return for positive coverage of himself and his wife on a news website controlled by the company's former chairman.

CASE 1000 alleges Netanyahu and his wife wrongfully received almost $200,000 worth of gifts including champagne and cigars from a Hollywood producer and an Australian billionaire businessman.

And CASE 2000 alleges that Netanyahu negotiated a deal with the owner of an Israeli newspaper for better coverage.

And then offered legislation that would slow the growth of a rival newspaper.

What does Netanyahu say?

He denies any wrongdoing.

And says he is the victim of a politically orchestrated "witch hunt" by the media and the left to oust him from office.

Is a verdict likely soon?

No.

The trial could take years.

He's only legally obliged to quit if and when he's convicted.

Netanyahu could also seek a plea deal rather than go through the trial process.

A bribery conviction carries 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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