Prosecutors in the trial of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Monday that Netanyahu used favors as “currency.”
According to local media, Netanyahu is facing “charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000, and fraud and breach of trust charges in Case 1000 and Case 2000.” He denies all charges and has pleaded not guilty. He is the first Israeli Prime Minister to face such charges while in office.
In making the prosecution’s case for Case 4000, Liat Ben-Ari, Deputy State Prosecutor, argued that in exchange for website Walla! NEWS writing favorable news about him, Netanyahu granted regulatory favors.
“The relationship between Netanyahu and the defendants became currency, something that could be traded,” Ben-Ari said. “This currency could distort a public servant’s judgment.”
Ben-Ari also argued the case involves government corruption and that Netanyahu improperly used “the major government power placed in him to demand and obtain improper benefits from the owners of major Israeli media outlets to advance his personal interests”.
Netanyahu denies the case’s merits and has argued that it is part of an attempted political coup. The country is currently in political turmoil. It has seen four elections over the past two years. In the latest, the March election, Netanyahu’s party did not gain enough votes to enjoy a majority but has not agreed to a coalition arrangement with another party.
Netanyahu’s trial is predicted to last three years.