Politics

British billionaire testifies in Benjamin Netanyahu graft probe – Israel News


JOINT LIST chairman Ayman Odeh holds a piece of paper with the word ‘corrupt’ on it toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset.
(photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


British billionaire Chaim “Poju” Zabludowicz gave testimony to police investigators last week over alleged gifts and favors he gave to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara while Netanyahu served as Finance Minister.

The testimony, first reported by Channel 2 on Saturday and confirmed by The Jerusalem Post, adds to a list of two other billionaires – Israeli Arnon Milchan and Australian James Packer – who are suspected of giving the prime minister and his family gifts in a manner that constitute a breach of trust.

According to Channel 2, Zabludowicz, who owns a stake in Israeli airline El Al, said he voluntary gave the testimony and is not a suspect in the investigation.

Netanyahu was questioned for a fourth time in March on suspicions that he and his wife, Sara, received illegal gifts of cigars, champagne and jewelry, with a total value in the tens of thousands of shekels from Milchan.

Throughout the investigation, the premier has denied any wrongdoing, repeating his mantra: “There will be nothing, because there is nothing.”

Meanwhile the police are reportedly still seeking to obtain testimony from Packer who is suspected of giving Netanyahu’s son Yair gifts.

Last week Channel 2 reported that the investigation into alleged illegal gifts received by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will continue for at least two months.

This appears to contradict a statement by Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich in early March that police investigators likely would finish “within a number of weeks.”

In late January, Alsheich also said that investigation was in its final stages.

According to the report, police are still likely to recommend an indictment in the investigation, termed Case 1000. However, even if recommended, it would likely not be filed by the Attorney-General’s Office until at least the summer of 2018.

Police are also investigating criminal suspicions termed Case 2000, in which Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon Mozes and Netanyahu are alleged to have conspired to weaken the Israel Hayom free daily in exchange for favorable coverage of the premier.

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