JERUSALEM — Israel’s attorney general has formally charged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a series of corruption scandals.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit issued an indictment Thursday charging Netanyahu with fraud, breach of trust and bribery.
Allegations against Netanyahu include suspicions he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of champagne and cigars from billionaire friends, offered to trade favors with a newspaper publisher and used his influence to help a wealthy telecom magnate in exchange for favorable coverage on a popular news site.
Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing and said he is a victim of a witch hunt.
More Pressure on Netanyahu to Resign Expected
The announcement comes as Israel’s political leaders continue to struggle to form a government after the country’s recent elections.
President Reuven Rivlin informed parliament on Thursday that neither Netanyahu nor his chief challenger, retired military chief Benny Gantz, have completed the task of building a coalition in the time allotted to them.
The formal expiration of the presidential mandate kicks off the final 21-day window before new elections must be called. It’s the first time in Israeli history that no candidate has been able to form a government.
While the criminal charges against Netanyahu do not require him to resign, they will likely raise pressure on him to step down.