JERUSALEM: Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been indicted in a series of corruption cases.
Mandelblit released an indictment charging Netanyahu with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in one corruption case, and with fraud and breach of trust in two other cases.
The indictment marks the first time an incumbent prime minister is being charged with bribery.
In a case dubbed by the police "Case 4000," Netanyahu is charged with taking bribes from Shaul Elovitch, a former control-holder of Bezeq, Israel's largest telecom company, by giving Bezeq 1 billion shekels' (289 million U.S. dollars) worth of financial and regulatory benefits.
During the alleged offenses, Netanyahu was the communication minister in addition to his capacity as prime minister.
In exchange, Elovitch, a close friend of Netanyahu, allegedly required Walla, a news site controlled by Elovitch, to provide favorable coverage of Netanyahu and his wife Sara.
In another case dubbed "Case 1000," Netanyahu and his family allegedly received expensive cigars, champagne and jewellery worth about 1 million new shekels (289,200 dollars) from the Israeli businessman and Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood tycoon, between 2007 and 2016.
In a third case dubbed "Case 2000," Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel's largest newspapers, allegedly held talks over an "exchange deal," in which Netanyahu would receive favorable coverage in Yedioth Ahronoth.
Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the allegations as "a political witch hunt."