Former US envoy is part of Netanyahu probe
THE UNITED States’ former ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, is expected to join a long list of figures questioned in the investigation against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Mr Shapiro, who completed his term as ambassador in January following the inauguration of President Donald Trump, will be asked to shed light on the suspicion that Mr Netanyahu helped his friend and benefactor film producer Arnon Milchan obtain a tenyear visa for the US.
Israeli police believe that gifts of jewellery, champagne and Cuban cigars, sent by Mr Milchan to the Prime Minister and his wife Sara, totalled hundreds of thousands of shekels over the years and constituted illegal gifts to a public official.
Another avenue of investigation is the claim Mr Netanyahu helped facilitate a deal last year for British Jewish billionaire Len Blavatnik to buy a majority stake in Israel’s Channel Ten from Mr Milchan, among others.
In a rare overseas session, Mr Blavatnik and Mr Milchan were questioned by Israeli police investigators at the Israeli embassy in London.
Proposals to question the former ambassador would suggest police are trying to obtain evidence of bribery in the long-running case against Mr Netanyahu.
Any alleged offer by the Prime Minister to use his influence with the US to help Mr Milchan with his visa problems would indicate a quid pro quo in their relationship.
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblitt is expected to receive a police recommendation to indict Mr Netanyahu in the coming days.
Arnon Milchan (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu