Netanyahu attorney: Police recommend his indictment
April 16, 1997
Web posted at: 1:58 p.m. EDT (1758 GMT)
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli police investigating an
influence-trading scandal in the Israeli government have
recommended that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be
indicted, according to his attorney.
Attorney Yaakov Weinroth confirmed reports on Israeli television this evening that police made the recommendation after concluding a 12-week investigation Tuesday.
CNN Correspondent Jerrold Kessel describes:
||The Israeli government's reaction to today's events
(132K/12 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
(294K/26 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
According to the Channel One television story, reported by the same
journalist who originally broke the story in January, the
investigators have recommended that Netanyahu be charged with
fraud and breach of trust for his part in the appointment of
an alleged political crony as attorney general.
Government officials allegedly appointed Roni Bar-On as
Israel's top lawyer to gain favorable treatment of a
political ally who faced corruption charges. The tradeoff was
allegedly the support of the religious Shas Party for Israeli
troop withdrawal from most of the West Bank town of Hebron.
Bar-On resigned a day after being appointed attorney general
after a storm of criticism that he was not qualified for the
Israeli media reported Tuesday that police were recommending
the indictments of three officials: Shas party leader Aryeh
Deri, Netanyahu top aide Avigdor Lieberman and Justice
Minister Tsahi Hanegbi.
Deri would reportedly be charged with blackmail and Lieberman
and Hanegbi with breach of trust.
Netanyahu "did some puzzling things" in connection with the
appointment, according to early reports about the police
probe. State attorney Edna Arbel was reviewing the document,
and was expected to announce a decision about indictments by
Monday, the start of the Passover holiday.
"The informal reports show ... a lot of people with dirty
hands," said an editorial in the daily Yediot Ahronot on
Wednesday. "Whether it is criminal dirt or just political --
this is what the state attorney will have to decide."
The scandal threatens the coalition government headed by
Netanyahu and his Likud Party. Israeli media speculated that
the Shas Party would withdraw from the coalition if Deri is
indicted, taking Netanyahu's parliamentary majority.
And four ministers, including Natan Sharansky of the Yisrael
B'Aliya Party, and Transport Minister Moshe Katsav said
earlier they would leave the coalition if the allegations
Correspondent Jerrold Kessel contributed to this report.
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.