Netanyahu’s Cousin Lent PM’s Daughter $200,000 Before Share Buyout

Loan came three months before Netanyahu made 600% profit by selling shares purchased through holding company whose controlling shareholder was same cousin

Nathan Milikowsky, who acquired Carbide Graphite and Seadrift Coke, then cashed them out to GrafTech, making himself, his employees and his investors wealthy, in New York, Jan. 17, 2014.
MICHAEL FALCO / NYT

In August 2010, Benjamin Netanyahu’s billionaire cousin Nathan Milikowsky lent Noa Roth, the prime minister’s daughter from his first marriage, nearly $200,000, TheMarker has learned. Roth reportedly used the money to buy a two-thirds interest in an apartment that her mother and aunts had inherited. After the loan was made, a mortgage was registered to Milikowsky for Roth’s share in the property.

Roth, Milikowsky and Netanyahu declined to say, in response to a question, whether the loan was repaid.

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Roth, 41, is the daughter of Netanyahu and his first wife, Miriam Haran. She became ultra-Orthodox and married Daniel Roth, an ultra-Orthodox businessman. The couple has four children and lives in Jerusalem’s Sanhedria neighborhood.

For some years, Daniel Roth has been trying to launch a business based on ties between Israel and China. Among other things, he founded companies and a public-benefit corporation, through the law firm of Netanyahu’s close associate David Shimron.

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On the website of the public-benefit corporation, China Israel Exchange, Daniel Roth had appeared in a picture alongside the prime minister. According to previous reports, during meetings in China, Roth made hints about the benefits of his ties to the prime minister. The day after a report was aired in 2017 by Israel’s public broadcaster, the website of the public-benefit corporation went offline. It has since gone live again.

The apartment for which Roth received the loan is on Kadish Luz Street in Jerusalem. Roth’s mother and two sisters inherited it from their mother, Matilda Weizmann, in 2001.

The information on Noa Roth’s loan from Milikowsky would seem to be supported by a report, in publicly available data of Israeli tax authorities, stating that two-thirds of the apartment was bought for $199,000. According to information from the investigative firm DataCheck, the mortgage was canceled in December 2015 and in March 2018, the apartment was sold to new owners.

A senior legal source explained to the TheMarker that on the face of it, Netanyahu’s daughter is not his dependent and he has no obligation, under regulations governing possible conflict of interest, to report the loan. However, if the prime minister was involved in obtaining the loan for his daughter, this might have needed to be reported, especially if the loan may have created a conflict of interest.

TheMarker asked the prime minister whether he told the permits committee of the State Comptroller’s Office, when he applied for permission to receive funding for his legal bills, that Milikowsky had a financial relationship not only with him but also with his daughter.

“TheMarker chooses to obsessively deal with an issue to which there is nothing,” the prime minister said in a response.

Both Roth and Haran declined to respond.

Milikowsky responded: “The Milikowsky and Netanyahu families have been close for generations. I’ve known Noa since the day she was born and I am allowed to make any kind of arrangement with her without having to give an accounting to anyone.”

The information about the loan is just the latest in the network of ties revealed over the past few weeks between Milikowsky and the prime minister. In August 2007, Netanyahu purchased (through a holding company of which Milikowsky was the controlling shareholder) a 1.6% stake in Seadrift Coke, a Texas-based company making products for the steel industry, for $600,000. The deal assigned a value of just $37.5 million for the entire company. A few months later, the shares were sold in a deal by which Seadrift was valued at $715 million. Three years later in November 2010, Netanyahu sold his shares for $4.3 million — a 600% profit.