Report: Billionaire’s softened testimony in Netanyahu investigation

Israeli movie mogul Arnon Milchan said to walk back previous testimony in setback for police investigators.

By
March 8, 2017 22:09
2 minute read.
Netanyahu and Milchan

Netanyahu and Milchan. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Israeli billionaire Arnon Milchan reportedly retracted previous testimony that police planned to use in the criminal investigation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over allegations that he accepted illegal gifts from the film producer.

Milchan’s testimony to police investigators, given last week in his Los Angeles home, was softened from that which he gave in November, Channel 2 reported on Wednesday.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Milchan’s second testimony differed on the value of gifts that were given to Netanyahu and his family and the extent of the prime minister’s awareness of the gifts.

The existence of the testimony was confirmed by The Jerusalem Post; however, a police official declined to comment on its substance.

The Justice Ministry said the contradiction is significant enough that police investigators must seek testimony from Australian billionaire James Packer, who is also suspected of giving illegal gifts to the Netanyahu family.

Wednesday’s report appears to contradict one that was broadcast on Tuesday by the same channel, which said that Milchan’s testimony supported a police decision to recommend indicting the prime minister. The billionaire is said to have supported the prior testimony of his secretary Hadas, who reportedly gave specific details about gifts given to Netanyahu and his family and was instrumental in purchasing and coordinating them. Milchan told investigators he became “fed up” with giving gifts to the prime minister and his family, according to Channel 2.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s personal physician, Dr. Tzvi Berkowitz, said on Wednesday that the prime minister has stopped smoking cigars due to health problems.



This came as Netanyahu told police investigators on Monday that he does not smoke cigars because he suffers from sinus problems.

Speaking to radio station 103 FM, the doctor affirmed Netanyahu’s assertion, stating, “It’s not an alibi, it’s true. He has not smoked cigars for a long time already. Also In the past he never smoked a lot. The reason is his nose.”

According to a police investigation, termed Case 1,000, the prime minister is alleged to have accepted from Milchan hundreds of thousands of shekels worth of fine cigars, including iconic Cuban Montecristos, Cohiba Sigla Vs and Trinidads.

Netanyahu’s lawyer Jacob Weinroth in January defended the cigar gifts by stating, “Any reasonable person knows that someone bringing their friend cigars is not a criminal offense.”

On Tuesday, Netanyahu’s lawyers denied reports that investigators surprised the prime minister with new testimony when questioning him the previous day.

Weinroth told Army Radio that Netanyahu had not been presented with “any new document.”

The prime minister, he said, was questioned only regarding separate allegations that Netanyahu attempted to broker favorable media coverage with Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon Mozes in exchange for weakening the Israel Hayom newspaper, in what has been termed Case 2000.

Netanyahu’s lawyers repeated the prime minister’s mantra on Tuesday regarding the investigation: “There will be nothing, because there is nothing.”

Related Content

An El Al plane in Ben Gurion Airport
July 20, 2018
Dutch BDS activist denied entry into Israel at Ben Gurion airport

By JULIANE HELMHOLD