Israeli PM denies wrongdoing in graft affairs

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Israeli police probed PM Benjamin Netanyahu a fifth time on Thursday for suspected involvement in two corruption cases, reported Reuters.

The statement, however, did not provide any more details about the ongoing investigation.

According to the Hebrew-language Ynet news site, officers with the police 433 Lahav anti-corruption unit were seen arriving at the official prime minister's residence in Jerusalem in the afternoon.

He is suspected to have received luxury gifts from wealthy supporters, including Israeli businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, a longtime friend who reportedly sent boxes of expensive cigars and other items with a value of tens of thousands of dollars. It is claimed he asked the then U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, at Netanyahu's request, to help get a USA visa for Milchan.

The alleged deal, not believed to have been finalised, would have seen Netanyahu receive positive coverage in return for helping curb Yediot's competitor, the pro-Netanyahu free sheet Israel Hayom.

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The recent investigations in Israel come about a month after Netanyahu's former aide Ari Harow had signed an agreement with prosecutors to become a state witness and testify against him.

Netanyahu has consistently denied any wrongdoing and says he has been the target of a campaign by political opponents. That said, he very much admires money.

In a step that seems a retaliation, Israeli legislators close to Netanyahu caused chaos as they announced their will to demand a salary raise for Netanyahu and a salary drop for head of Israeli police Roni Alsheikh who insists on interrogating Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, key figures in the prime minister's own party continued to advance parliamentary legislation, the sole aim of which is apparently to protect Netanyahu from any future indictment. Past year the Israeli primer was dogged by a similar scandal.

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