Netanyahu to be charged in corruption cases, pending hearing: Israeli TV

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the media in Tel Aviv, Israel February 21, 2019 REUTERS/ Ammar Awad/File Photo FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the media in Tel Aviv, Israel February 21, 2019 REUTERS/ Ammar Awad/File Photo

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s attorney-general intends to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in three corruption cases, Israeli TV said on Thursday, citing the Justice Ministry.

The reported decision, ahead of Israel’s April 9 election, deepens uncertainty over Netanyahu’s prospects in a tight race.

The actual filing of the reported charges, which include bribery, fraud and breach of trust, will depend on the outcome of a required hearing. At that hearing – likely after the election – Netanyahu can try to persuade the attorney-general not to indict him.

Netanyahu, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term, denies any wrongdoing. In the long-running investigations, he is suspected of wrongfully accepting gifts from wealthy businessmen and dispensing favors in alleged bids for favorable coverage by a newspaper and a website.

Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party described the reported charges as “political persecution”. It said the prime minister, who has vowed not to resign over the allegations, was due to deliver a statement at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT).

(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Stephen Farrell)

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