PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU consults with Avichai Mandelblit..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed on Tuesday to set a pre-indictment hearing date with Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit; to an interim payment arrangement with his lawyers; and to accepting the case file of evidence against him in his public corruption cases.
Netanyahu’s 180-degree turnaround followed the period since the April 9 general election, in which the prime minister’s defense team refused to set a meeting date or to accept the case file, demanding that the July 10 date be pushed off by months.
Mandelblit has held firm that he would not postpone the hearing from July 10, which is four and a half months after he announced that he will indict Netanyahu for bribery and breach of trust in three other cases on February 28, pending a final pre-indictment hearing.
Netanyahu’s lawyers had also demanded that the prime minister’s legal bills be paid by his tycoon allies, including his cousin Natan Milikovsky, who may be connected to a public corruption probe known as the “Submarines Affair.”
A statement by Netanyahu’s spokesman did not explain what the interim arrangement was, saying that the prime minister still believed some of his bills should be paid by donors, which is a right for any citizen.
The State Comptroller’s committee has said it would not entertain the possibility of Netanyahu receiving donations to pay for his legal fees unless he first contributed significantly to paying his bills from his considerable fortune, estimated to be in the tens of millions of shekels according to reports.
Netanyahu has not been a suspect to date in the “Submarines Affair,” but this new spin-off issue between Milikovsky and the prime minister may change that – and is now being probed by Mandelblit.
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