Netanyahu formally charged with corruption hours after dropping his request for immunity

Netanyahu formally charged with corruption hours after dropping his request for immunity”

The attorney general's office told Netanyahu in November that he would be tried in three cases, on charges including bribery.

Israel's attorney general filed an indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on bribery and other charges Tuesday just hours after the Israeli leader withdrew his request for immunity.

Netanyahu's indictment comes hours before Trump's announcement for the so-called Deal of the Century.

Israel's attorney general filed the indictment on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery against Benjamin Netanyahu on January 28, hours after the prime minister withdrew his request for parliamentary immunity.

Gantz made a brief trip to Washington to discuss the peace plan with Trump, and had rushed back to Israel expecting to lead the parliament debate against granting Netanyahu immunity.

Rival Benny Gantz, whose Blue and White party emerged the largest in the Knesset after the last elections, said Netanyahu can not lead the country and also deal with his legal problems.

Israel's longest-serving prime minister was charged for receiving gifts as the prime minister, paying for favorable news coverage and implementing regulatory moves to benefit news outlets to spur positive news stories.

"If anyone still had any doubt that Prime Minister Netanyahu is the target of obsessive persecution, he was now given further clear and sharp proof", the sources were quoted as saying, according to the report.

"During this fateful time for the people of Israel, while I am in the United States on a historic mission to shape Israel's permanent borders and ensure our security for future generations, another Knesset show is expected to begin in the immunity circus", he wrote. "The eagerness to file the unfounded indictment against the prime minister is so great that they could not wait even one day until after the historic summit in Washington, one of the most important in the history of the state".

In a statement issued on his official Facebook page, Netanyahu said he "decided not to let this dirty game continue".

Tuesday's filing could impact the upcoming parliamentary election scheduled to be held on March 2 - the third in less than a year - and change the course of negotiations over forming the new government and also who will become the new prime minister.

Under Israeli law, a sitting prime minister is only required to step down once convicted of an offence and after all avenues of appeal have been exhausted. "No one can manage the country and in parallel manage three serious criminal cases", Gantz said in a tweet.

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