(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The police will soon recommend indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for illegally receiving expensive gifts, despite not questioning Australian billionaire James Packer, Channel 2’s Amnon Abramovich reported on Wednesday night.
Packer had been sought by the police for several months.
They were prepared to fly to Australia to question him, but he lives on a yacht at sea much of the year, making questioning him too much of a challenge.
The report said police had questioned more than 90 people in the lavish gifts affair, giving more than enough information to recommend an indictment to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, who will make a final decision.
Police sources said the recommendation for the indictment could be announced as early as next month.
Netanyahu’s associates responded that after countless leaks from the police to the media, a recommendation for an indictment should not surprise anyone. They said that no matter what the police decides, there ultimately would be no indictment, because he did not break the law.
The prime minister has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in “Case 1000,” which is based on allegations that Israeli Hollywood movie mogul Arnon Milchan illegally gave Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, gifts worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, including cigars, champagne and jewelry. The Netanyahus have not denied accepting gifts, but reportedly have said they were given between friends in a manner that does not constitute a breach of trust or bribe.
Packer is alleged to have given Netanyahu’s elder son, Yair, lavish gifts, including free hotel rooms and flights, in order to influence his father.
Yair was questioned by the police on the matter on January 17. Packer, a friend of the Netanyahus, was conspicuously absent from the prime minister’s recent three-day trip to Australia.Eliyahu Kamisher contributed to this report.