Billionaire James Packer Testifies He Gave Netanyahu Gifts, Says Milchan Asked for Help

The Australian businessman reportedly told police that he 'happily gave gifts' to the Israeli premier, 'many times per his and his wife Sara's request'

File photo: Australian businessman and founder of Australia's Crown Ltd, James Packer, at a business event in Sydney on October 25, 2015.
Tim Wimborne/Reuters

Australian billionaire James Packer testified that Israeli-American businessman and film mogul Arnon Milchan asked him to help bring gifts to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Packer made the claim as part of the probe into allegations that Netanyahu received inappropriate presents from the two, Israel's Channel 10 News reported on Friday evening.

According to the report, Packer said in his testimony that his acquaintance with Netanyahu happened through Milchan. "He also asked me to help him in bringing the gifts," the Australian businessman claimed.

"I admire Prime Minister Netanyahu and was happy to have had the opportunity to be his friend," Packer said in the published testimony. "I happily gave him gifts. Many times per his and his wife Sara's request," he added.

Packer's testimony was given as part of the investigation into Case 1000, also known as the "Gifts Affair," which centers on suspicions that Netanyahu received champagne and cigars worth hundreds of thousands from different businessmen. Netanyahu has long claimed the goods were given as gifts and not as part of a quid-pro-quo.

The prime minister was interrogated by police for the seventh time on Friday. The interrogation lasted four hours and dealt with this affair as well as with Case 2000, which centers on suspicions that Netanyahu conspired with the publisher of Israeli daily Yedioth Aharnoth, Arnon (Noni) Mozes, to receive better coverage in return curing the paper's biggest competitor, Israel Hayom, owned by Netanyahu's patron Sheldon Adelson.

Police have finished investigations into Case 1000, and are making efforts to conclude the two affairs over the next couple of weeks or towards the end of January at the latest.

Netanyahu has been preparing with his legal team for the interrogation after Friday's probe, and also took to Facebook on Friday night to write: "Nothing new under the sun. This time as well I answered all the questions and this time as well I say again with confidence: There will be nothing, because there is nothing."