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PM Netanyahu claimed to have received billionaire gifts and traded favors with media and telecom moguls

Benjamin Netanyahu returns to court to face three corruption allegations just six weeks ahead of an election.

PM Netanyahu claimed to have received billionaire gifts and traded favors with media and telecom moguls
08.02.2021 11:10
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As his trial continues in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected graft allegations in court for the first time.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, has returned to court and pleaded not guilty to accusations of wrongdoing as his trial enters an accelerated period six weeks before the election.

For the hearing, the prime minister entered sporting a black security mask. He rose to deny the allegations inside the courthouse, before leaving within 45 minutes while his attorneys resumed deliberations.

In three cases, identified as 1,000, 2,000 and 4,000, Mr Netanyahu has been indicted:

Case 1,000 – Bribery and abuse of trust: he is accused of accepting bribes from wealthy businessmen – mostly cigars and bottles of champagne – in return for favors.

Case 2,000 – Bribery and breach of confidence: Mr. Netanyahu is accused of promising to increase the circulation of Yediot Ahronot, an Israeli newspaper, in return for favorable publicity.

With protesters from the ‘Crime Minister’ campaign concentrating on the corruption charges, frequent demonstrations against him have rumbled on for months. Others have complained against the treatment of the pandemic by the government.

Since 2009, Netanyahu has acted as Israel’s prime minister and has managed to cling on to power in the past two years through three turbulent, deadlocked polls.