Middle East

Israel's Netanyahu denies wrongdoing ahead of investigation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to the press at his Jerusalem office on December 28, 2016, in response to a speech by the US Secretary of State Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Netanyahu said all scandals in the past have turned out to be "baseless"

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says a probe into alleged wrongdoing will uncover no evidence against him.

Local media reports suggest that the nation's attorney general is set to launch an investigation into the prime minister's actions.

Israeli media have reported allegations that he has received significant gifts or "favours" from businessmen.

But Mr Netanyahu denies the claims, saying there is nothing to uncover.

He said rumours of impropriety will turn out to be as false as previous claims against him have been.

"All these scandals have turned out to be baseless and so will the allegations being published in the media now," he said in a statement.

It has been claimed that the police asked the prime minister's office to schedule a suitable date for questioning.

However, neither the justice ministry nor the attorney general have confirmed the details contained in media reports.

Opponents of Mr Netanyahu have called for an investigation into his affairs following a series of scandals in recent months - none of which have resulted in charges.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, have faced scrutiny several times over the years

Last month, an investigation was opened into the purchase of new submarines from Germany, after it was claimed that Mr Netanyahu's lawyer represented the company during negotiations.

Earlier this year, convicted French fraudster Arnaud Mimran claimed he had donated hundreds of thousands of euros to Mr Netanyahu's 2009 election campaign - something the prime minister denies.

He has also been accused of wasting public money, including $127,000 (£102,000) on a customised private bedroom on a single flight to the UK.

Similar allegations have followed the prime minister since his original term in office two decades ago.

In the year 2000, Israeli police recommended that criminal charges be brought against Mr Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, after an eight-month investigation into whether he had kept official gifts that should have been handed over to the state after he left office.

At the same time, they were also accused of charging the government for the services of a contractor who did private work for them.

All those charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence.

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