06:38 GMT10 April 2020
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    Police are gearing up to launch a full-blown criminal investigation into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery, according to Israeli media reports on Monday.

    For the past nine months, Israeli police have been conducting a secret inquiry into criminal wrongdoing by Netanyahu, and now believe that they have enough information for a formal investigation, the Times of Israel reported.

    It is alleged that the Prime Minister accepted bribes in the form of donations during his 2009 campaign.

    A spokesperson for Netanyahu denied the allegations, however, calling them “nonsense.”

    “Since Netanyahu’s victory in the last elections and even before, hostile elements have made heroic efforts to attempt to bring about [Netanyahu’s] downfall, with false accusations against him and his family. This [latest attempt] is absolutely false. There was nothing and there will be nothing,” the spokesperson told Haaretz.

    It was reported as far back as June that police chief Roni Alsheich had launched an investigation using special police unit Lahav 433, often referred to as Israel’s FBI, while demanding that those involved conduct the investigation in secrecy and not leak any information to the media.

    “On Sunday, police descended on the Defense Ministry to gather information relating to a ship-building contract with Germany, as part of a probe into how negotiations for multi-billion shekel naval deals were handled,” the Times of Israel reported.

    Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit also reportedly instructed his employees to look into allegations that Netanyahu had accepted approximately $1.1 million from French tycoon and alleged fraudster Arnaud Mimran in 2009.

    This is not the first time that Netanyahu has faced allegations of financial wrongdoing. He and his wife have previously been accused of spending state funds to finance a luxurious lifestyle.

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    Tags:
    Corruption, Investigation, Lahav 433, Defense Ministry, Avichai Mandelblit, Israel
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