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Israel

Israel's Netanyahu denies corruption allegations ahead of police probe

The Israeli premier has called on his rivals to "wait for the celebrations," describing reports of alleged corruption as baseless. Police have questioned him over allegations he accepted "favors" from businessmen.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday denied any wrongdoing amid allegations that he illegally received gifts from domestic and foreign entities while in office, describing them as "baseless."

"We hear all the media reports. We see and hear the festive spirit and atmosphere in television studios and in the corridors of the opposition.

"I want to tell them to wait for the celebrations. Do not rush. I told you and I repeat: There will be nothing because there is nothing. You will continue to inflate hot air balloons and we will continue to lead the state of Israel," he added.

Police arrived on Monday at his personal residence to question the Israeli premier in a probe that has shaken the political establishment, local media reported. Questioning lasted for three hours.

Israel's Channel 2 TV has reported that Netanyahu accepted "favors" from Israeli and foreign businessmen.

Other ordeals

The prime minister is also under scrutiny over conflict of interest allegations linked to the purchase of submarines from the Israeli arm of Germany's ThyssenKrupp.

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in July said he ordered a preliminary examination into an unspecified affair involving Netanyahu, although no details were provided to the public.

In a separate matter, Israeli's state comptroller in May released a report on Netanyahu's foreign trips when he served as finance minister between 2003 and 2005, some which he took with his wife and children.

Netanyahu's office has confirmed that he received $40,000 (38,200 euros) from French tycoon Arnaud Mimran, who has been sentenced to eight years in prison over a scam amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Netanayhu's predecessor, was sentenced to serve 27 months in prison for corruption. He was effectively forced to resign following widespread allegations of corruption.

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ls/cmk (AFP, AP)

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