Netanyahu calls police chief ‘delusional’ amid indictment rumors

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TEL AVIV, Israel — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Israel’s top police officer amid reports the politician could be indicted as part of corruption probe as early as next week.




Image: Commissioner Roni Alsheikh Netanyahu calls police chief'delusional' amid indictment rumors 180207 roni alsheikh mc 1020 feacb5466de727551780103c8e41db40

Roni Alsheikh is Israel’s chief of police. Thomas Coex / AFP/Getty Images file

On Wednesday, Police Chief Roni Alsheikh said on a Israeli TV that “powerful figures” had hired people to “sniff around” the detectives working on the Netanyahu case.

“Any decent person will ask himself how people who say such delusional things about the prime minister can objectively investigate him,” a late-night statement on Netanyahu’s Facebook page read. “A great shadow was cast this evening on police investigations and recommendations in the case.”

The comments followed reports in Israeli media that there was enough evidence to indict Netanyahu, who has been prime minister since 2009. He also served three years in the role in the 1990s.

Police were expected to submit their recommendations to the attorney general as early as next week, according to reports. NBC News was not independently able to verify them. Police officials declined comment.

Police are looking into claims the prime minister and his wife received gifts worth thousand of dollars from businessmen in return for favors. Another investigation is probing claims that Netanyahu negotiated favorable coverage from one newspaper in exchange for support of a bill that would weaken a rival publication.




Image: Benjamin Netanyahu Netanyahu calls police chief'delusional' amid indictment rumors 180208 netanyahu mc 1019 feacb5466de727551780103c8e41db40

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Abir Sultan / EPA

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

In a video posted Wednesday, Netanyahu addressed supporters saying: “I want to calm you, there will not be anything because I know the truth.”

“There will be signs saying, ‘Bibi is guilty until proven innocent,’ there will also be improper pressures,” Netanyahu added, using his nickname. “But I’m sure that at the end of the day the judicially relevant parties will come to one conclusion and to the simple truth that there is nothing.”

Paul Goldman reported from Tel Aviv and F. Brinley Bruton reported from London.

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