Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu en route to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan..
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is under police investigation for allegedly accepting illegal gifts from billionaires, reportedly told police he was unaware of gifts of champagne provided to his wife, Sara, by billionaire Arnon Milchan, and did not know the price of cigars he received as gifts from Milchan.
According to a Channel 2 report on Tuesday, Netanyahu told police that his wife is an independent person and thus he does not keep track of any alleged transactions between her and Milchan.
He also reportedly said that he was unaware of the individual price and cumulative total of cigars he allegedly received over a number of years from Milchan and contended that he had bought many cigars with his own money.
According to a previous Channel 2 report, Milchan gave Netanyahu expensive cigars over the course of seven to eight years, including iconic Cuban Montecristos, Cohiba Siglos and Trinidads totaling in the hundreds of thousands of shekels.
“Any reasonable person knows that someone bringing their friend cigars is not a criminal offense,” attorney Yaakov Weinroth, who represents Netanyahu, told the press in January.
Netanyahu has been questioned under caution three times in the police investigation termed Case 1000 and in a separate case dealing with an alleged attempt to broker favorable media coverage with Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon Mozes. Milchan and Sara have both given statements in the investigation.
Last week, it was reported that Australian billionaire James Packer was also summoned by the police to testify over gifts he allegedly gave to the Netanyahu family. Police reportedly suspect Packer of giving the prime minister’s son Yair lavish gifts, including free hotel rooms and flights, in order to influence the elder Netanyahu. Yair was questioned by the police on the matter on January 17.