Prosecution in Israel strains up over 300 witnesses in Netanyahu case

* Israel’s legal professional basic formally recordsdata indictment

* Opens manner for Netanyahu to hunt parliamentary immunity

* Netanyahu denies wrongdoing in three corruption instances

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM, Dec 2 (Reuters) – An indictment submitted to Israel’s parliament on Monday in opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu names greater than 300 prosecution witnesses, together with rich buddies and former aides, in three graft instances in opposition to him.

By formally sending the indictment to the legislature, after asserting expenses of bribery, breach of belief and fraud on Nov. 21, Legal professional Common Avichai Mandelblit set the clock ticking on a 30-day interval during which Netanyahu can search parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

Such safety appears unlikely, with Israeli politics in disarray after inconclusive elections in April and September and the failure of Netanyahu and his most important challenger, Benny Gantz, to safe a ruling majority within the legislature.

Netanyahu, in workplace for the previous decade, has denied any wrongdoing, saying he’s a sufferer of an tried “coup” waged by authorized authorities attempting to unseat a preferred right-wing chief.

As prime minister, he’s underneath no authorized obligation to resign after being charged. No date has been set for the opening of the trial, with three judges presiding in Jerusalem District Courtroom.

The indictment submitted to parliament listed 333 witnesses for the prosecution. Authorized consultants stated the lengthy roster meant proceedings might go on for years.

They embody U.S. on line casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his spouse Miriam, Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, Australian billionaire James Packer and retired Israeli safety chiefs, and several other former aides who will likely be state witnesses in opposition to him.

Netanyahu poured scorn on the size of the witness record.

“When an accusation is true, you do not want 333 witnesses,” he wrote on Twitter. “When the accusation is unfaithful, not even 333 witnesses will assist.”


In a single case, Netanyahu is suspected of wrongfully requesting and accepting costly presents, together with champagne and cigars, from Milchan and Packer. Neither has been charged with any wrongdoing.

One other case focuses on allegations that Netanyahu promised the proprietor of Israel’s best-selling newspaper to push for laws on its most important competitor, owned by Adelson.

Netanyahu is also accused of granting regulatory favours value about 1.eight billion shekels ($500 million) to Bezeq Telecom Israel in return for optimistic protection on a web site owned by its former chairman.

Talks between Netanyahu’s Likud and Gantz’s centrist Blue and White get together on a “nationwide unity” authorities are deadlocked.

If no settlement is reached inside 10 days – the top of a three-week interval during which legislators can nominate a candidate to attempt to type a authorities – Israel is more likely to maintain a brand new election.

(Enhancing by Timothy Heritage)

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