Australian billionaire James Packer bought Sara Netanyahu a $42,000 ring, a key witness testified at the Jerusalem District Court on Monday in Case 1000, the Illegal Gifts Affair.
The witness, Hadas Klein, who is a top aide to billionaire Arnon Milchan, was testifying for her third straight day. She is expected to be cross-examined starting Tuesday until the court’s July 21 summer recess.
Klein also said Sara had threatened Klein with “committing suicide” when Milchan’s aide blocked a worker of Packer’s from coming to perform work for the Netanyahus.
According to Klein – who also handled various trilateral relations between Milchan, Packer and the Netanyahus – this would have gone too far in blurring the lines between gifts from the tycoons versus taking over some of their key employees.
Moreover, Klein said Netanyahu himself had later rebuked Klein for not going along with Sara’s wishes on the issue, saying they had checked with a lawyer and that such arrangements were “legal, as long as real property was not being gifted” for free.
All of Monday’s testimony came after the court ruled on Monday morning in the prosecution’s favor that new testimony Klein had provided to police that was not part of the original indictment could be heard in court.
The defense had opposed allowing the new testimony because it was not part of the original indictment.
However, once the court allowed the prosecution to amend the indictment, having deemed the new evidence potentially relevant to the verdict, the court also decided that her testimony was relevant as well.
In addition, Klein testified that Milchan and Sara Netanyahu had helped get Yossi Cohen appointed as Netanyahu’s National Security Council chief in 2013.
According to Klein, Cohen was expected to become a director-general of a ministry, but he wanted to become the next NSC chief.
She said Cohen had asked Milchan to intervene with the Netanyahus on his behalf.
Next, she said Milchan had told her he had secured the position for Cohen with the Netanyahus and that “Sara loves him.”
Another major issue that came up was Klein telling the court that Boaz Ben Tzur had directed her not to go to the prosecution over the gifts issue. Initially, Ben Tzur represented Klein.
However, because she was only a witness and not a direct party to the case, Ben Tzur was given clearance to cross over to become Netanyahu’s defense lawyer in Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla Affair.
Ben Tzur has still been prohibited from involvement in Case 1000, which has meant that Netanyahu lawyer Amit Hadad has handled that part of the defense.
Even with Ben Tzur being kept out of Case 1000, his moving from representing Klein to Netanyahu was viewed as controversial, made more so by his continuing to communicate with Milchan and by Klein’s latest allegations about his conduct.
It was unclear whether there would be any consequences for Ben Tzur, since he could claim there was no reason for Klein to proactively complicate her life by going to the prosecution without being summoned first.
Netanyahu allegedly received NIS 267,254 ($75,800) in cigars and NIS 184,448 ($52,300) worth of champagne from Milchan between 2011 and 2016. The original indictment said Sara Netanyahu allegedly received NIS 10,900 ($3,100) worth of jewelry from him in the same time period, but the new allegations push that number up to more than $45,000.
Netanyahu and his family also received another NIS 229,174 ($65,000) in champagne and cigars from Milchan’s associate Packer from 2014 to 2016, according to the allegations.
The latest allegations are being used by the prosecution to try to disprove any defense by the Netanyahus that all they were given were merely gifts from wealthy friends.