James Packer Reportedly Gave Yair Netanyahu's Unqualified Friend a Cushy Job

A police investigation is currently looking into whether the Australian billionaire gave the Netanyahus numerous expensive gifts

Australian billionaire James Packer answers questions at an evening business event in Sydney, 2012.
Tim Wimborne/REUTERS

A close friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair was employed by a firm of billionaire James Packer, a friend of the prime minister, and earned tens of thousands of shekels a month despite having no relevant experience or even an academic degree, Israel’s News Company (formerly known as Channel 2) reported Wednesday night.

The report also said that several witnesses were asked about this matter this during the investigation of Case 1000, which is looking into suspicions that Netanyahu received gifts from tycoons, including Packer, in exchange for advancing their interests.

According to the report, Yair Netanyahu introduced his friend Roman Abramov to Packer. Abramov, who had been doing public relations work for Tel Aviv nightclubs, was given a job at a Packer-owned company called CPH a few months later, at a monthly salary of tens of thousands of shekels. Since the Case 1000 investigation began, Packer and the younger Netanyahu have severed their ties, and Abramov has left CPH, the report said.

The Case 1000 probe is examining allegations that Packer and businessman Arnon Milchan gave the Netanyahus numerous expensive gifts. Channel 10 reported last year that Packer paid for the prime minister’s son to stay in a luxury hotel in New York during the UN General Assembly, and that Packer had given Sara Netanyahu 10 tickets to a performance by his then-girlfriend Mariah Carey. Police have had a hard time getting Packer to provide evidence, and this is considered the missing piece of the investigation.

Stronger evidence has reportedly been uncovered to support the allegation that the relationship between Netanyahu and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan was a two-way street and that Netanyahu asked for some benefits. Netanyahu is suspected of acting on Milchan’s behalf in the sale of Channel 10 and in other matters related to the communications industry.

Earlier this week it was reported that Milchan’s personal assistant, Hadas Klein, had provided the police with evidence that Netanyahu had asked for cigars and was angry when she refused a request by Sara Netanyahu to send a building inspector to look at a leak in the official residence.

According to the News Company and Channel 10, Klein told police that the purchases of champagne had never been at Milchan’s or Packer’s initiative but had always been at the Netanyahus’ request. According to Klein, Sara would ask for bottles of champagne in cases of six or 12, and Netanyahu was aware of her requests and asked for cigars for himself. According to her testimony, “The company driver would go to Jerusalem to deliver the cigars and the champagne.”