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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 March, 2004, 21:52 GMT
Sharon may face bribery charges
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Sharon is facing two separate corruption probes
Israeli media say state prosecutors will recommend indicting Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in a long-running corruption case.

Outgoing State Attorney Edna Arbel is said to have concluded there are sufficient grounds to charge Mr Sharon.

The prime minister, who denies any wrongdoing, is being investigated for possible bribery.

A developer is alleged to have paid large sums to Mr Sharon's son Gilad in connection with a property deal.

The final decision whether to press charges against the prime minister rests with Attorney General Menachem Mazuz.

A decision is expected in April.

Balance of evidence

The developer, David Appel, employed Gilad Sharon as a consultant in a deal involving a Greek resort in 1999.

Gilad had no previous experience in the tourism industry.

David Appel
Appel has been indicted for allegedly offering bribes
Israeli media have speculated that Mr Appel may have hoped to win Greek approval for the deal through the Sharon family. Mr Sharon was foreign minister at the time.

Mr Appel has already been charged with offering bribes.

A TV report said prosecutors regarded the evidence in the "Greek island affair" as open to different interpretations.

But Ms Arbel felt that on balance an indictment should be presented, the report added.

Mr Sharon has said he intends to serve the rest of his term until 2007, despite the allegations against him.

But the BBC's Richard Galpin in Jerusalem says that if charges are brought he may have to step down, at least temporarily.

Mr Sharon is facing a separate probe into possible infringement of election finance regulations in 1999 and 2000.

The BBC's Richard Galpin
"The case relates to a prominent Israeli businessman"

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