Netanyahu's Lawyer: Getting Cigars From a Close Friend Isn't a Crime

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016. Credit: Amir Cohen, AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attorney Jacob Weinroth addressed the graft probe against  the premier on Friday, saying that there is nothing that prohibits public servants from receiving cigars as a gift from friends.

"Any intelligent person knows that if a friend or someone close to you gives a friend cigars as a gift, there is not and cannot be anything prohibited about that - no shred of criminal act," said Weinroth regarding the police questioning of Netanyahu on Thursday under suspicion of receiving gifts from businesspeople, including Arnon Milchan, which included expensive Cuban cigars.

In his  statement to the press, Weinroth also addressed the second scandal involving Netanyahu, the so-called "Case 2000,"  which is considered more significant than the first. "After I heard the prime minister's answers, I was and I remain calm - we aren't talking about money, we aren't talking about a loan, we aren't talking about anything that constitutes a crime and I'm convinced that when the prime minister's answers are heard by those who will hear them, it will become clear to every listener that there is no suspicion or hint of criminality."

Netanyahu's attorney continued on to say, "There is no substance to the suspicions."

Netanyahu was questioned by police for five hours on Thursday evening at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem. Netanyahu is suspected have having received gifts and other benefits, and is also involved in a second investigation on suspicions considered to be more serious.

Police said that another suspect in the case was also questioned sometime over the last two days and that no other details could be given without compromising the investigation.

The prime minister was first questioned four days ago for three hours and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced after the questioning that evidence had come to light over the past month against Netanyahu that justified his questioning.

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