Israel police want PM Benjamin Netanyahu and wife tried for graft

Netanyahu US Secretary of State Pompeo to meet Monday Israeli PM's office

According to a police statement, authorities found evidence of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust.

In Sunday's joint statement with the Israel Securities Authority, police said they also found sufficient evidence to charge Shaul Elovitch, a family friend of Netanyahu, with bribery.

But Netanyahu may want to seek a renewed mandate from the people, forcing a prosecutor to think twice before indicting him.

The authorities allege Mr Netanyahu awarded regulatory favours to Bezeq Telecom Israel in return for more positive coverage of him and his wife on a news website, Walla, owned by the company.

Police in February recommended indicting Mr Netanyahu in two other corruption investigations.

The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations as a witch hunt orchestrated by the media.

Police say the investigation, which included the testimony of 60 witnesses, revealed that Netanyahu and Bezeq boss Shaul Elovitch engaged in a "bribe-based relationship". Mr Netanyahu is in his second stint as prime minister.

Former journalists at the Walla news site have attested to being pressured to refrain from negative reporting of Mr Netanyahu.

It is claimed Netanyahu and his advisers supported regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to telecom company Bezeq.

"These recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began", Mr Netanyahu said in a statement.

This is the third corruption probe in which police have recommended charges against the prime minister.

Mr Netanyahu did not mention the allegations in his comments at the start of a cabinet meeting later in the day. Netanyahu, who just two weeks ago brought his coalition from the brink of collapse after a junior partner bolted, denied any wrongdoing. They also said he should be indicted for influence-peddling after discussing a deal with powerful newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes to push through legislation that would hurt a rival daily in exchange for good coverage.

Police are also recommending that charges be brought against Netanyahu's wife, Sara, who has been at the centre of much of the corruption allegations surrounding the longtime Israeli leader.

"A prime minister with so many criminal cases around him can not continue in his job and must resign", said Avi Gabbay, the head of the Labor party.

The other is Mr Shlomo Filber, a Netanyahu ally for more than 20 years and former director general of the communications ministry.

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