Israel Police 'Have Messages' From Netanyahus Asking for Expensive Items

Sharon Pulwer
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PM Benjamin Netanyahu, wife Sara, and son Yair with actress Kate Hudson and producer Arnon Milchan in 2014.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu, wife Sara, and son Yair with actress Kate Hudson and producer Arnon Milchan in 2014.Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO
Sharon Pulwer

National fraud squad investigators reportedly have emails and text messages indicating that members of the Netanyahu family asked for expensive items from businessman Arnon Milchan, whose ties with the Netanyahus – and what he might have received in return – are at the heart of what police have dubbed Case 1000.

According to the Walla website, police have emails and text messages exchanged between the parties in which Netanyahu family members made their requests for cigars and champagne using code words. Sources familiar with the details said the boxes of cigars Milchan would give to the prime minister were referred to as “leaves,” while the bottles of pink champagne were called “pinks.” This use of code words, previously reported by Haaretz, raises the suspicion that the parties knew that what they were doing was improper.

Case 1000 is primarily based on testimony by Milchan and employees of his in Israel who were involved in delivering the gifts, receipts, and credit card details that allegedly point to the purchase of items for the prime minister and his family. Milchan claimed that in most cases he did not give gifts to the family on his own initiative, but that they asked him for the items. The total worth of these gifts comes to hundreds of thousands of shekels. Milchan, who has shares in Channel 10, told friends that he never expected anything from Netanyahu in return for the gifts he gave.

Since the details of the case began emerging, Netanyahu has been claiming that there was nothing wrong with accepting gifts from Milchan or others. “One is allowed to get gifts from friends,” he declared in a speech to the Knesset last week in which he addressed the allegations. During that same Knesset appearance Netanyahu refused to answer questions from the opposition regarding the nature of his ties to Milchan, including the question of whether he should avoid dealing with television issues as communications minister given his friendship with the tycoon.

In recent days Netanyahu has repeatedly blamed political rivals and the media for exerting undue pressure on Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and on the law enforcement system to get them to file charges.

As Haaretz reported last week, police believe the Netanyahu investigations have yielded sufficient evidence to back at least some of the allegations of conflict of interest and breach of trust in the gifts case.

Given the position that fraud squad investigators have expressed during internal police discussions, it seems that police will recommend that Netanyahu be indicted.

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich declared that police have already drawn conclusions in the Netanyahu investigations and that they will be transferring their findings to the prosecution within weeks.

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