- Former defense minister says Netanyahu will likely be indicted
- Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing
Police have been investigating Netanyahu for months
in connection with two cases -- known as Cases 1000 and 2000 -- and he has been questioned on several occasions. But the seriousness of the alleged offenses has not been made clear until now.
Netanyahu has repeatedly denied wrongdoing
The development came Thursday evening after police requested a gag order relating to a separate investigation into Netanyahu's former chief of staff, Ari Harow. The gag order forbids reporting of any negotiations between Harow and police and prosecutors.
Israel's attorney general previously confirmed Netanyahu is a suspect in Case 1000, which alleges that he inappropriately accepted gifts from overseas businessmen; and Case 2000, which concerns an alleged deal he struck with the owner of Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel's leading newspapers, to tone down its criticism of his office in exchange for reducing the circulation of a rival newspaper.
Thursday's gag order makes direct reference to Cases 1000 and 2000 and -- for the first time -- describes them as being investigations into crimes of bribery and breach of trust.
Police are also investigating a third case -- Case 3000 -- which involves the purchase of German submarines and attack boats. The procurements were made during Netanyahu's premiership, but so far he has not been questioned and the attorney general has said he is not a target of the investigation.
Last month, Netanyahu's former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
told CNN that he believes the Prime Minister will be indicted on corruption charges.
"Too many issues are under investigation," said Ya'alon. "I believe that at the end we will witness indictment."
A spokesman for Netanyahu said on behalf of the Prime Minister: "We flatly reject the false claims made against the Prime Minister. The campaign to replace this administration lies at its heart; but it is doomed to fail, for the simple reason that there will be nothing because there was nothing."