08:08 GMT26 February 2021
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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is embroiled in a new scandal, this time over claims that private investigators were hired to probe police officers investigating him.

    Senior police officials have accused Jerusalem police head Yoram Halevy of holding secret talks with Netanyahu in a possible effort to affect the outcome of an ongoing probe into the prime minister and make Halevy the country’s top cop, Israel’s Channel 2 television reported on Thursday.

    Thursday’s report comes amid tensions between Netanyahu and Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, whom the premier has accused of [leaking] information to the press and of conducting a “witch hunt” against him.

    The prime minister’s office dismissed the report as “a total and tendentious lie,” while other senior police officers accused Alsheich, who is stepping down in December, of attempting to prevent Halevy from getting the job.

    “[Alsheich] is trying to topple a potential successor via lies… He is trying to prepare himself for a fourth year in office,” they were quoted as saying.

    The police deny a rift between the two commanders.

    In a statement released earlier this week, a police spokesman denied any “confrontations” between the country’s senior police officers.

    “The police commissioner will continue to work together with Asst.-Ch. Yoram Halevy to maintain a normal routine for the residents of Jerusalem and the surrounding area,” the statement added.

    Senior police commanders consider Halevy to be a respected and experienced officer, making him the most likely person to replace Alsheich, who is stepping down later this year.

    By then, police are expected to have wrapped up their conclusions to the state prosecution on all the three corruption cases involving Netanyahu, so if Alsheich leaves, they will have no impact on the outcome of the investigation.

    READ MORE: Netanyahu Denies Claims He Tried to Dig up Dirt on Police Amid Corruption Probe

    In February, police recommended Netanyahu be charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

    The Israeli PM has said that law enforcement officials were being pressured to pursue criminal investigations against him and that they were carrying out a “witch hunt” against him.


    Netanyahu Says Police Probe Against Him 'Like Swiss Cheese' Full of Holes
    Netanyahu Denies Claims He Tried to Dig up Dirt on Police Amid Corruption Probe
    accusations, ongoing probe, police commissioner, backdoor talks, Roni Alsheich, Yoram Halevy, Israel
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