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Police have evidence for Netanyahu indictment: Reports

Police have opened three investigations into Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over fraud and bribery
Investigations into Netanyahu concern gifts businessmen gave premier and his family (Reuters)

Israeli police have “enough evidence” to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on bribery and fraud charges, Israeli media reported on Thursday.

Israel Hayom, a widely circulated free Hebrew paper, said on Thursday’s front-page headline that there is “strong evidence of bribery,” adding that “investigators have enough evidence to charge the prime minister on fraud, breach of trust and bribery charges”.

Investigations into Netanyahu concern gifts that businessmen gave the premier and his family, and conversations with an Israeli publisher over pushing favourable media coverage for Netanyahu.

An Israeli court injunction said the cases involved "suspicion of the commission of the felonies of bribery, fraud and breach of trust," but did not specify who might be charged for the crimes.

The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing, and a family spokesperson has branded the proceedings against him a "witch hunt". 

Even if eventually indicted, Netanyahu would not be obliged by law to resign.

Netanyahu is under investigation in three cases, which have been dubbed case 1,000, 2,000 and 3,000 by police.

The first case, 1,000, revolves around gifts from wealthy supporters including Australian billionaire James Packer.

The second case is concerned with suspicions that Netanyahu discussed a secret deal to help scale down the circulation of Israel Hayom newspaper in exchange for more favourable coverage in rival publication Yediot Aharonot.

The third case centres on fraudulent purchases of German submarines in a $1.5bn deal.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, is likely to face indictment on Friday by police on separate charges, a Jerusalem Post report said on Thursday.  

She has been under investigation for two years over claims she spent public money on expenses for the Netanyahus' home, including private chefs, catering and electrical work.