PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a Likud Party campaign launch in 2014 before the last elections..
(photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and state prosecutors are working intensively on the three corruption investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in order to reach a decision as soon as possible on whether to indict him.
A senior prosecutor told Maariv Online that an expected date for a pre-indictment hearing already exists: February 20. Although the date is not final and may change, the goal is to complete the investigations by that date.
Why is it so important to decide on a hearing regarding Netanyahu’s cases by February 20? Maariv discovered that the deadline for submitting party lists to the Knesset is February 21. Thus, it seems that the attorney-general and state prosecutor want to make Netanyahu’s legal situation clear to the different parties and candidates before the lists close, so that the candidates can make an informed decision regarding their chances of success.
The online news site was also informed that other political officials asked the attorney general to give his decision by that date, so that the impact on the elections will be as limited as possible.
Netanyahu has lambasted the investigations against him, and has frequently accused elements in the government of trying to unseat him by means of the investigations. When the Israel Police recommended he be indicted for various offenses on December 2, Netanyahu told a crowd of Likud supporters in Ramat Gan that, “They already decided and leaked a year ago that these would be the recommendations, so what’s new?”
At a meeting with Likud members after the recommendations were announced, Netanyahu told ministers that they were taking the cases more seriously than him.
“The police recommendations have no legal standing,” Netanyahu said, but they “are not surprising.”
“I am sure that even in this case, the competent authorities, after examining the matter, will reach the same conclusion – that there was nothing [to find] because there is nothing [to find],” Netanyahu added.
“The time between police recommendations and a hearing is 18 months on average,” Likud responded. “In the case of Prime Minister Netanyahu, it takes only a few weeks. Everyone sees what’s going on here: An unchecked race to cram and shorten complicated legal processes by force. It’s no wonder that most of the public suspects a fixed game whose outcome is already known beforehand.
“As we have stated, the process of studying the investigations into the prime minister is taking place in an orderly and professional manner, in accordance with a work plan determined even before the elections were announced,” the Justice Ministry responded. “At this stage we don’t know when the process will be finished. Any report otherwise is simply speculation.”
This report was translated from The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv by Zack Evans. Lahav Harkov and Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.
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