Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regularly requested cigars from two businessmen and got angry at one of their personal aides, Hadas Klein, when she refused his wife’s request to have a building inspector look at a leak in the prime minister’s official residence, Klein reportedly told police.
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Klein testified to the police in February as part of what is known as Case 1000, which is investigating suspicions that Netanyahu received illicit gifts from wealthy businessmen, among them Klein’s bosses, Arnon Milchan and James Packer.
According to reports on both Channel 2 and Channel 10 television on Monday regarding the content of her police testimony, Klein told the police that buying champagne for Netanyahu wasn’t ever Milchan’s or Packer’s idea; rather, the suggestion always came from the Netanyahus.
She said Sara Netanyahu demanded champagne in cases of six or 12 bottles, and that her husband was aware of these requests. Sara Netanyahu used to call Klein to tell her that the “drinks” – meaning the champagne – had run out and ask her to bring more, Klein added.
The prime minister, in contrast, demanded cigars. “There was an understanding that Arnon had to supply the Netanyahus with whatever they want,” Klein said, adding that a company driver was used to bring the cigars and champagne to Jerusalem.
“Sara would yell at me,” Klein continued. “[Mrs.] Netanyahu wanted a building inspector who worked with Packer and Milchan to come consult with professionals from the Prime Minister’s Office about leakage in the official residence. I didn’t okay it, and then she yelled that I and Milchan were humiliating her and Bibi, that we weren’t approving things that were ostensibly allowed them.”
After this, she said, “Bibi called himself and said it wasn’t right ... That they need to understand what she’s going through with the media, and that they had gotten legal advice and it’s all permissible.”
Klein also said that “Sara was afraid of wiretaps. Every time she asked for something, she asked to speak only by landline, or else face to face. She yelled at me several times about the gifts.”
“Milchan settled on a division of expenses with Packer,” she added. “But it wasn’t for anything specific in exchange.”
Klein also said the Netanyahus used to use Packer’s pool and ask his housekeeper to make meals for them when he wasn’t at the residence.
She told the police that said she served as the regular liaison between Milchan and the Netanyahus, receiving the couple’s requests and making sure they were fulfilled.
Sources involved in the investigation termed her testimony “dramatic.” Altogether, the gifts the Netanyahus received are thought to be worth between 650,000 and 700,000 shekels ($180,000 to $200,000).
Netanyahu has repeatedly said that the investigations against him “will produce nothing because there was nothing.”
He claims that he and Milchan have been friends for many years, and that the legal advice he was given was that it was okay for him to receive gifts from friends.