Investigators tell Milchan he bribed Netanyahu
During 3-hour questioning of the Israeli-born tycoon in London last week, investigators detailed before Arnon Milchan suspected quid pro quo dealings that took place with Netanyahu which they believe resulted in the PM protecting his business interest; ‘You bribed Netanyahu in exchange for the assistance he gave you on Channel 10 interests.’
The accusation was made to Milchan, who holds a 9.8% proprietary stake in the Israeli commercial TV channel, despite the fact that during his initial rounds of questioning he insisted that the shares he owned in company were put in a trust.
Police decided to head to London to confront Milchan yet again after new information emerged indicating that Netanyahu had allegedly interfered in matters relating to his business interests, particularly his partial ownership of Channel 10.
Milchan was questioned under caution for three hours on suspicion of giving bribes to Netanyahu and his wife Sara, in the form of extravagant gifts including cigars, champagne and jewelry.
According to officials familiar with the investigation, commonly referred to as Case 1000, the Hollywood producer’s latest testimony strengthened suspicions that Netanyahu had engaged in breach of trust by accepting the illicit gifts, thereby implicating himself in a conflict of interest.
The evidence, they say, add yet another pillar to the case for indicting the beleaguered prime minister.
According to reports on Channel 2, Milchan posited that the decision to turn him into a suspect was forced. He also insisted that any gifts given to the Netanyahu family were meant in friendship and no ulterior motive was at play.
Regarding his business interests, Milchan said that the partial sale of his shares in Channel 10 were extremely low and pointed out that Yossi Maiman, another businessman with a stake in the network, sold his shares for the same price in the same transaction.
The magnate also addressed allegations that Netanyahu had personally intervened on his behalf to acquire a US visa by reaching out to John Kerry and insisted that he asked a number of people, including the prime minister, simply to clarify where things stood on the matter.
Milchan has already provided testimony twice in the recent past during his visit to Israel following suspicions which arose that he furnished Netanyahu family with gifts. But during that time, he was never officially suspected of any wrongdoing.
A close Netanyahu associate dismissed the notion out of hand that Milchan and the prime minister had transgressed in any way. "Any attempt to attach impropriety to the deep, years' long friendship between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Arnon Milchan is baseless and doomed to fail. We repeat: there won't be anything because there wasn't anything," the official defiantly stated, repeating Netanyahu's commonly-expressed mantra.