Netanyahus demanded champagne and cigars, aide says
The Australian casino owner James Packer and the Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan probably never imagined they would be running a free drinks delivery service for the Israeli prime minister and his wife.
But when Sara Netanyahu called an assistant who worked the two men, to say the drinks had run out, Packer and Milchan renewed the supplies of champagne courtesy of their own wallets and a private driver, according to testimony in an investigation into sleaze claims against Benjamin Netanyahu.
The allegations, widely reported in the Israeli media yesterday, are the latest leaks from a police investigation into the Netanyahus. According to the reports, first carried by Israel’s Channel 2 and Channel 10 on Monday, Hadas Klein, an assistant to Packer and Milchan, has given evidence describing how the Netanyahus would routinely call demanding cigars, champagne and even that the bill be paid for a building inspector.
While the Israeli prime minister has repeatedly denied that the items represented anything more than goodwill between friends, the leak suggests the Netanyahus always initiated the favours.
“There was an understanding that Arnon had to supply the Netanyahus with whatever they wanted,” Klein reportedly told police, describing how a driver was employed to deliver the cigars and champagne to Jerusalem.
According to Klein, the demands extended to services. “Sara would yell at me,” Klein reportedly said. “[She] wanted a building inspector who worked with Packer and Milchan to come consult with professionals from the prime minister’s office about leakage in the official residence. I didn’t OK it, and then she yelled that I and Milchan were humiliating her and Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu’s nickname], that we weren’t approving things … Bibi called himself and said it wasn’t right … that they need to understand what she’s going through with the media [which the Netanyahus accuse of persecution], and that they had gotten legal advice and it’s all permissible.”
Responding to the latest leak, a spokesman for Netanyahu said: “The plague of fake news continues. What is being attributed to the prime minister and his wife is incorrect. The prime minister and his wife acted lawfully.”
Neither Milchan nor Packer have responded to the allegations, but in September it was reported that Milchan had denied giving gifts.
Sara Netanyahu is alleged to have ‘yelled’ at an assistant who would not agree to provide the services of a building inspector