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Israeli PM Netanyahu Faces Criminal Probe

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the subject of a criminal probe in his home country, Israel's Channel 10 television reported.

Israel's attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, had opened a criminal investigation into two "unspecified matters" involving Netanyahu, according to Reuters.

Neither Mandelblit nor Netanyahu's office commented further on the report. A spokeswoman for Israel's Justice Ministry said law enforcement's investigations of the two matters "are still ongoing and this is neither confirmation or denial of what has been alleged."

"The attorney general, the police and prosecutors are working in close cooperation and a public announcement will be made in due course about the investigation," the spokeswoman said.

Mandelblit has authorized police to question Netanyahu, according to the report. The interrogation hadn't happened as of Dec. 29, but authorities said they expected police to sit down with the Israeli prime minister within the next few days.

Israeli journalists have speculated that one of the "matters" police are looking into involves the purchase of submarines from Germany, and a possible conflict of interest involving Netanyahu's attorney. But the Reuters report, quoting Israeli sources, said the second allegation is more serious and had not been leaked to the public yet.

However, the U.K.'s Independent ran a Dec. 27 report with allegations that Netanyahu had accepted some $1.2 million in bribes from a French national who had been convicted of fraud. The French citizen, Arnaud Mimran, is currently serving eight years in prison for carbon tax fraud, the newspaper reported.

Earlier in 2016, a spokesman for Netanyahu denied any connection to the French convict.

“Mr. Netanyahu received no prohibited contribution from Mimran," the spokesman said. "Any other claim is a lie.”

Sources: Reuters, The Independent (2) / Photo credit: Cherie Cullen/Wikimedia Commons

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