Report: Mossad Chief Investigated for Receipt of Mariah Carey Tickets

Civil Service Commission looking into suspicions billionaire James Packer gave Yossi Cohen thousands of shekels worth of tickets to his ex-fiance's performance, Channel 10 reports.

Netanyahu and Cohen, 2014.
Emil Salman

The Civil Service Commission has launched an investigation into suspicions that Mossad head Yossi Cohen received free tickets to a Mariah Carey concert worth thousands of shekels from Australian billionaire James Packer, Channel 10 reported on Wednesday.

Channel 10 also reported on Wednesday that Cohen had spent time at Packer’s luxury Tel Aviv hotel suite, or had free use of the premises, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son, Yair Netanyahu, was there as well.

The commission is investigating whether Packer’s gift amounted to receipt of an illegal benefit or favor, the report said. Cohen headed the National Security Council at the time but is now director of the Mossad.

Last month, Channel 10 reported that Cohen received seven tickets from Packer for a concert last year by Carey, Packer’s ex-fiance. The tickets were valued at several thousand shekels.

Recording artist Carey poses for a portrait.
MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS

The commission is already checking Cohen’s explanations. The findings are expected to be published soon.

The television report said it had not received any response from Cohen to the allegations.

The police are already looking into reports that Packer gave members of Netanyahu's family gifts and benefits, Channel 10 reported last month. The report said the gifts are under the purview of other investigations into Netanyahu's ties.

Packer has reportedly sought residence in Israel and has opened a requisite file with Israeli tax authorities for that purpose, Israeli media have said.

Such a file is mandatory for potential wealthy emigres. Packer is not Jewish and therefore not eligible of automatic citizenship granted by Israel’s Law of Return.

Netanyahu has dismissed the reports about ties with Packer, and other reports probes of him and his family, by saying “there is nothing” behind any of the allegations.