For­mer US en­voy is part of Ne­tanyahu probe

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY ANSHEL PFEFFER

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

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