British Billionaire Zabludowicz Testifies in Netanyahu Graft Case

Zabludowicz joins ranks of wealthy who allegedly gave gifts to the prime minister and his wife

Billionaire Poju Zabludowicz in 2007.
Motti Kimchi

British billionaire Poju Zabludowicz provided Israeli police with testimony this week over alleged gifts he gave to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, Channel 2 News reported Saturday night.

Zabludowicz, who is visiting Israel, was asked to testify about gifts allegedly given during Netanyahu’s term as prime minister and as finance minister.

The British-Jewish businessman, who is a partner in El Al Airlines and has other business interests in Israel, lives in London.

He told Channel 2 he was asked to testify at the offices of the national police fraud squad voluntarily on the matter of Netanyahu’s investigation, that he is not suspected of anything, and that the police thanked him warmly for his testimony.

Netanyahu and Zabludowicz met in the mid-1980s and have been close friends ever since. Zabludowicz gave Netanyahu use of his villa in Caesarea for a family vacation during Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister.

The prime minister has been questioned several times so far by the police in the so-called “Case 1000” investigation. The probe centers on suspicions that tycoons, including billionaire Israeli film producer Arnon Milchan, purchased expensive cigars, alcoholic beverages and jewelry for Netanyahu and his wife, valued at hundreds of thousands of shekels.

Netanyahu says the gifts were from close friends, so there was nothing illegal about them.