Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he withdrew his request for immunity from the prosecution in the corruption cases against him.
The move comes as the Knesset was expected to debate on the establishment of a committee that would deal with Netanyahu’s immunity request. The anticipated vote was slammed as politicised, by the right-wing bloc parties supporting Netanyahu.
The removal of the immunity request will signify that Israel’s attorney general can file an indictment with the Jerusalem District Court without having to wait for a decision by the Knesset.
Netanyahu has been under investigation for nearly three years in three corruption-related cases. The prime minister is accused of receiving expensive gifts and abusing his authority to promote favourable coverage of his activities in the media.
Case 1000 alleges that Netanyahu received gifts worth about $270,000 in 2017 from Australian billionaire James Packer and Israeli-American businessman Arnon Milchan.
Case 2000 claims that the prime minister was in contact with the Yedioth Ahronoth news outlet’s publisher, Arnon Mozes, with regard to weakening the Israel Hayom newspaper in exchange for getting media coverage serving Netanyahu’s interests.
Netanyahu and his wife Sarah are allegedly involved in the Bezeq-Walla corruption affair, also known as Case 4000, being accused of promoting the interests of Bezeq, the country’s largest telecommunications provider, in exchange for favourable coverage of Netanyahu’s activities by the popular news website Walla, which is controlled by the company.
Netanyahu complained that the charges were politically motivated and aimed at removing him from the office.