Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan’s personal assistant gave testimony to police regarding the gifts Milchan allegedly gave to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Channel 2’s Guy Peleg reported on Sunday night.
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According to the report, the assistant was the intermediary between the Netanyahus and Milchan. She would take the couple’s requests for gifts and was responsible for delivering them. The report also said sources involved with the case called the assistant’s testimony “dramatic.”
It is estimated that the value of the gifts the Netanyahus received in the affair known as Case 1000 ranged between 650,000 to 700,000 shekels ($173,000 to $186,000).
Two weeks ago Gidi Weitz reported in Haaretz that in recent months, several of Milchan’s employees in Israel, in addition to Milchan himself, testified to being involved with the purchase and delivery of gifts to the Netanyahus. In most cases, Milchan said, his generosity was not spontaneous, but that the Netanyahus had asked for the items. Weitz reported that the Netanyahus used code words for their requests, referring to the bottles of pink champagne they asked for as “pinks,” while referring to the cigars Milchan sent Netanyahu every two weeks as “leaves.”
The tycoon reportedly told associates that he was not expecting any government gestures or concessions in return for the presents. Someone who knows Milchan well explained that he “had already made his fortune,” and speculated that Milchan had a hard time refusing the prime minister’s requests because he liked being close to decision makers. Milchan has not made any comments on the allegations in the case since Haaretz reported he was involved.
Along with his work as a film producer in the United States, Milchan has shares in Israel’s Channel 10. His relationship with the prime minister made headlines after the last Knesset elections, when he was mentioned as trying to broker the formation of a unity government with Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog.