Ne­tanyahus de­manded cham­pagne and cigars, aide says

The Guardian - - INTERNATIONAL - Peter Beau­mont Jerusalem

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.