PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The criminal investigations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are “moving forward at high speed,” but will not be rushing for short-cuts or to a result anytime soon, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit told an accountants conference in Eilat on Wednesday.
It is important to finish the probes to maintain the public’s faith in the system, but “even more important... is to clarify the suspicions in an optimal manner and to gather evidence in a proper and professional manner,” he said.
Netanyahu currently faces two major police probes.
In Case 1000, he is being investigated for allegedly improperly receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts of expensive cigars and champagne from wealthy businessmen.
In Case 2000, he is being investigated for an alleged media bribery scheme to help Yediot Aharonot against its competitor Yisrael Hayom using influence he had with Yisrael Hayom owner Sheldon Adelson, in return for favorable coverage of the prime minister.
There has been another wave of leaks about progress in the cases and about battles between certain police and prosecution officials who already want to indict Netanyahu versus Mandelblit and other prosecution officials who want to continue to gather evidence.
The latest focus is on whether there is evidence that the prime minister actually took actions that could constitute a quid pro quo to repay the businessmen or Yediot Aharonot owner Arnon Noni Mozes in the respective probes.
Mandelblit addressed the recent leaks saying, “There are various stories about the findings of the investigation, but due to factors relating to the good of the investigation, the time still has not come to address their accuracy.”
He warned that addressing the leaks mid-investigation would “possibly allow these leaks and others and claims made by various persons to obstruct the investigation, and even to prepare suspects for what to expect in their interrogations.”