Investigators who grilled the Israeli-born tycoon Arnon Milchan in London last week on suspicion he bribed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, apparently told him “you bribed Netanyahu in exchange for the assistance he gave you on Channel 10 interests,” according to police officials.
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.
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.