Sheldon and Miriam Adelson to Israel Police: We Were Angry to Hear of Netanyahu-Mozes Talks

Adelsons deny any knowledge of negotiations between Netanyahu and media tycoon Mozes over their Israel Hayom daily ■ Police won't question Mariah Carey, former partner of Netanyahu billionaire buddy James Packer

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson at the Taglit Birthright Israel event in Rishon Letzion,June 25, 2017.
David Bachar

American Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his Israeli-born wife, Miriam spoke to police investigators in Israel on Monday, denying any knowledge of or connection to contacts between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and publisher of the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, Arnon Mozes.

The Adelsons are not suspects in the criminal case against Netanyahu, which is known as Case 2000. It involves suspicions that the prime minister and Mozes discussed the paper providing favorable coverage to Netanyahu in exchange for efforts on his part to pass legislation favorable to Yedioth.

Adelson and his wife, who were questioned for five hours, told investigators that they were disappointed and angry when they found out about the alleged negotiations that included a commitment from Netanyahu to take steps to weaken Israel Hayom, a right-wing daily and competitor of Yedioth owned by the Adelson family.

The paper is the largest daily circulation in Israel and has been staunchly pro-Netanyahu. Mozes and Netanyahu deny any wrongdoing in Case 2000.

Sheldon Adelson spoke with law enforcement officials regarding the case in May, but Monday marks first time that Miriam spoke to police. Miriam Adelson's account may be more significant because she has been more active in the running of Israel Hayom.

Meanwhile singer Mariah Carey, the former partner of Australian tycoon James Packer, who is suspected of giving gifts to Netanyahu in return for favors, is also in Israel. Police did not call Carey in for questioning and doesn't plan to do so, with sources in the Justice Ministry saying they don't see her testimony as essential.

Carey, who's in Israel to promote Premier Dead Sea cosmetics products, was once involved in a romantic relationship with Packer. Channel 10 reported in the past that Packer gave Sara Netanyahu and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen early tickets to Cary's concert in Israel. 

In an interview with Channel 2 on Monday, Carey was asked about the nature of the relationship between her ex-boyfriend and the prime minister and about the suspicion that the Netanyahu family received gifts from Packer, but she replied that she couldn't discuss the topic.

Packer is considered a key figure in the case against Netanyahu. Packer is suspected of agreeing to a request from businessman Arnon Milchan to split the expenses of the Netanyahu family between them. According to Channel 10 reports, Packer let Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister's son, stay in his apartments in Israel and the United States, flew him and his friends to vacations on his private plane and paid for his stay at a New York hotel. 

It was also reported that Netanyahu's attorney, Yaakov Winrot, asked Interior Minister Arye Dery to pursue residency status in Israel for Packer who isn't Jewish.

Packer's name also came up in Case 2000, involving the prime minister's alleged negotiations with Mozes. In this case, Netanyahu allegedly tried to convince Packer to invest in Yedioth as a bargaining chip with Mozes. The tycoon visited Israel a few months ago, but police didn't call him in to testify and a senior law enforcement official admitted that "it slipped away from us."