Netanyahu Backtracks, Will Not Ask Cousin to Fund Legal Defense

PM's lawyers says he will seek funding from another businessman, Spencer Partrich ■ Netanyahu reneges on agreement to provide committee with details on ties to Partrich

Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem May 5, 2019.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem May 5, 2019. Credit: Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS
Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has withdrawn his request to accept funding for his legal defense from his cousin, Nathan Milikowsky, the prime minister’s lawyers said Monday.

The permits committee in the State Comptroller’s Office was about to decide yet again on the premier’s request to take 2 million shekels ($557,000) from his cousin to help fund his legal defense in the three criminal cases in which he may be indicted, pending a hearing.

Netanyahu said he will instead seek to raise the funds from a different businessman, Spencer Partrich, and that he is considering a request to another donor. Hanging over this are revelations that Netanyahu made money by buying and selling discounted shares in a company owned by Milikowsky, an issue now being investigated by prosecutors.

>> Netanyahu's partners are blackmailing him – and a new election won't save him | Analysis ■ Netanyahu suffers legal blow, and it could be devastating | Analysis

Netanyahu’s lawyers said they would refuse to comply with the preconditions set down by the permits committee before meeting them, including the filing of a declaration of assets by Netanyahu and complete details of the relationship between him and Partrich. This goes against the compromise arrived at before the High Court of Justice, under which the committee agreed to hold another hearing on Netanyahu’s request to get help from tycoons for his legal defense, while Netanyahu “would provide the committee, at its request, all details it may request for the purpose of the supplementary hearing.”

The details were first reported by Channel 13 News. Last month, the state comptroller gave Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit a document detailing false declarations Netanyahu had made about his wealth since being elected prime minister in 2009.

In response to Netanyahu’s petition, the members of the committee in its previous composition wrote that he apparently “has not bothered to pay even one shekel of his own money to finance his legal defense." In addition, the committee wrote that Netanyahu had not answered various questions, including the total amount required to finance his legal expenses, if he had paid anything toward his defense – and if so, how much – and how much he might be able to fund on his own later on.

The attorneys said in their letter that they wanted to meet the committee members as soon as possible, because their decision could have an impact on the hearing to be held for Netanyahu by the attorney general. Last month, Haaretz reported that Netanyahu’s lawyers had refused to collect the investigative material in his cases to prepare for the hearing until they could be assured their fees would be paid. Mendelblit has said Netanyahu’s hearing would be held by July, but chances of that happening are essentially nil.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott