16:41 GMT +310 December 2019
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    A woman walks past a banner depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the words Crime Minister outside the Justice Ministry

    Israeli PM Netanyahu Points to 'Attempted Coup' as Attorney General Indicts Him in Corruption Cases

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    Several corruption cases against the longest-serving Israeli prime minister have been in limbo, but received a fresh push following an unsuccessful snap election for Netanyahu and his Likud Party.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three ongoing cases, better known as Cases 1000, 2000, and 4000, the country's Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced on 21 November. Thus Netanyahu became the first person holding the post of the prime minister to be charged with bribery.

    Responding to the corruption charges that were filed against him, Netanyahu said that the process is meant to topple him and called it "an attempted coup" against an acting prime minister.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), Israeli president of the Supreme Court  Esther Hayut (C) and Benny Gantz (L), leader of Blue and White party, attend a memorial ceremony for late Israeli president Shimon Peres, at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on September 19, 2019
    © AFP 2019 / GIL COHEN-MAGEN
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), Israeli president of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut (C) and Benny Gantz (L), leader of Blue and White party, attend a memorial ceremony for late Israeli president Shimon Peres, at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on September 19, 2019

    A copy of the indictment in the cases was sent to the speaker of the country’s parliament, the Knesset, thereby enabling Netanyahu to request immunity from criminal prosecution as per Israeli law, the attorney general’s statement said.

    The criminal cases against the Israeli prime minister have long remained in limbo as they were not given the go-ahead by the country's attorney general. However, the cases received a boost recently at a crucial time for Netanyahu and his Likud Party, as they face the prospect of a second snap election after the previous one failed to result in a new government.

    In the three criminal cases, Netanyahu and his family are accused of receiving valuable gifts in return for favours, as well as of striking illegal quid pro quo deals with two Israeli businessmen while occupying the post. The prime minister claims he is innocent of all the charges.

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    Knesset, Likud party, corruption charges, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel
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