Israeli PM Netanyahu hits out at police chief amid corruption probe

8 February 2018, 11:02

Benjamin Netanyahu has attacked Israel's police chief ahead of an expected announcement regarding a corruption investigation into the Prime Minister.

Police chief Roni Alsheich said "powerful figures" had hired people to "sniff around" the detectives investigating the Israeli leader.

Mr Netanyahu, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, responded in a Facebook post.

He said the police chief's comment was a "bizarre and false suggestion" that had cast a "great shadow" on the investigation.

Police officials declined to comment.

Avi Gabbay, leader of the opposition Labour party, accused Mr Netanyahu of acting like a "thug" over the investigation.

Mr Netanyahu has previously dismissed the corruption claims as a witch hunt orchestrated by a hostile media.

The investigation is looking into two corruption allegations against the Prime Minister.

One reportedly concerns claims Mr Netanyahu improperly received lavish gifts from Hollywood and business figures.

The second concerns claims of secret talks with the publisher of a major Israeli newspaper in which Mr Netanyahu allegedly asked for positive coverage in exchange for a reining in a free pro-Netanyahu daily.

According to Israeli media, police are expected to recommend that he be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of public trust.

Reports say investigators could submit their recommendations to the attorney general as early as next week.

Speaking last month, attorney general Avichai Mandelblit said the investigation was entering its "final stretch".

He added that authorities will "not be afraid to take difficult decisions" and dozens of witnesses had been spoken to.

Mr Mandelblit is expected to take a number of weeks to decide how to proceed once he has received the police's recommendations.