Israeli Cops Question Netanyahu for 3 Hours

Corruption probe now a full criminal investigation: Israeli AG
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2017 4:33 AM CST
Israeli Cops Question Netanyahu for 3 Hours
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday.   (Gali Tibbon/Pool photo via AP)

Israeli police investigators descended on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's home Monday to continue a corruption probe, and while officials are being tight-lipped on what was discussed, a police spokesman revealed that questioning revolved around Netanyahu being "under caution on the suspicions of receiving benefits," CNN reports. The Jerusalem Post reports that Netanyahu was grilled for more than three hours at his Jerusalem residence, which had a black barrier erected at the gates to keep media from peeking in, and that further Q&A sessions are anticipated. Meanwhile, before the cops showed up at his door, Netanyahu asserted his innocence, warning his political enemies and the media to "hold off partying" and proclaiming that "nothing will happen, because there is nothing," per the BBC, which details other allegations against Netanyahu over the years.

Israeli AG Avichai Mandelblit said later that Netanyahu, accused of accepting "improper gifts" from two businessmen, is now subject to a full criminal investigation into supposed ethics transgressions. Mandelblit says a new inquiry involving Netanyahu began in July, with this specific accusation being lobbed three months ago. The AG adds four allegations first broached over the summer, including those swirling around illegal 2009 election activity, have been dismissed. The Post notes rumors of a second "more serious" case against the PM that may involve attempted bribery. Israel's opposition pols are currently responding in a "fairly subdued" manner, the New York Times reports, with Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog noting it's "a tough day for Israel" and "we are not expressing satisfaction at another's misfortune." (Netanyahu has been busily attacking John Kerry.)

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