Witness in graft trial says Netanyahu requested for NIS 3,000 ‘tip’ to spend in Tiberias

A key witness within the corruption trial of opposition chief Benjamin Netanyahu testified Monday that the previous premier as soon as requested NIS 3,000 in petty money “as a tip” to be used throughout a go to to Tiberias and that on one other event NIS 15,000 in money was spent on his spouse, Sara.

Hadas Klein, a private assistant of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and an aide to Australian billionaire James Packer, was questioned by Netanyahu’s protection lawyer Amit Hadad about bills her bosses lined.

The allegations in so-called Case 1000 revolve round luxurious presents the previous prime minister and his household obtained and quid professional quos Netanyahu is accused of getting offered in return. Klein had beforehand described to the courtroom how she was the conduit for a gradual provide of premium cigars and champagne to the Netanyahus, items she stated weren’t volunteered by Milchan or Packer however somewhat have been requested immediately by the ex-premier and his spouse.

Her testimony is very important because it undermines Netanyahu’s protection that he was merely accepting presents from buddies and that he was not conscious of the extent of the presents.

Throughout his cross-examination of Klein on the Jerusalem District Court docket Monday, Hadad tried to point out that others had additionally loved the largess of each Milchan and Packer and that luxurious objects reminiscent of cigars and champagne have been commonplace for visitors of their personal houses.

He introduced images of a celebration thrown for Shimon Peres at considered one of Milchan’s houses, during which the previous president was with Packer at a desk bearing pink champagne, and one other event when the 2 have been seated collectively, additionally with champagne on the desk. Hadad additionally introduced letters during which two different individuals in Packer’s circle described smoking cigars every single day whereas the businessman was on a go to to Israel.

Pressed to discuss a few of Milchan’s personal bills, Klein refused to enter element, and the choose backed her up, warning Hadad that the courtroom was solely eager about objects associated to the Netanyahus.

Hadad pressured Klein additional about money put aside for Milchan’s private bills and she or he retorted by mentioning cash spent on the Netanyahus.

“There are private issues of Arnon’s you don’t wish to hear about,” Klein instructed the courtroom, “like what I purchased with NIS 15,000 ($4,440) in money for Mrs. [Sara] Netanyahu, or that Mr. Netanyahu requested for a tip of NIS 3,000 ($890) from [Milchan’s] petty money for [use during] a visit in Tiberias.

Opposition chief Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyer Amit Hadad arrives on the District Court docket in Jerusalem for a courtroom listening to within the case towards his consumer, the previous prime minister, September 12, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hadad additionally quizzed Klein about some earrings she had stated have been purchased for Sara Netanyahu however that receipts confirmed, he stated, have been bought for Milchan’s spouse, Amanda.

“I’d by no means write on the receipt that they’re for Sara Netanyahu,” Klein defined. Whereas she allowed that one pair of earrings might have gone to Amanda Milchan, she confused that one other pair was delivered to Netanyahu and that “we made certain they reached her on time.”

Netanyahu was not in courtroom Monday for the proceedings.

Opposition chief Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to reporters outdoors the Prime Minister’s Workplace in Jerusalem, on August 29, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

State prosecution representatives are set to journey within the coming weeks to both London or Los Angeles the place they’ll interview Milchan, Channel 13 reported. Milchan may testify within the trial through video hyperlink, based on the report.

The indictment in Case 1000 towards the previous prime minister costs that Netanyahu violated battle of curiosity legal guidelines when he offered Milchan with help in renewing his long-term US residency visa. It alleges that this — alongside Milchan’s provide of an estimated NIS 700,000 ($205,000) price of cigars, champagne, jewellery and different luxurious objects to Netanyahu and his spouse — constituted fraud and breach of belief.

Hadad has beforehand within the trial sought to color an image of Milchan as somebody who acted on the worldwide stage to advance Israel’s pursuits and who was due to this fact entitled to help from the prime minister in renewing his American visa.

Arnon Milchan (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu at a press convention within the Knesset, on March 28, 2005. (Flash90/ File)

Throughout her testimony in July, Klein acknowledged that Milchan had no “financial pursuits” in his relationship with Netanyahu, however commented that “from the angle of the ability it gave him, he might say, ‘I’m a pal of the prime minister.’”

Klein added that Milchan felt he might name Netanyahu at any time, even throughout vital conferences, and instantly turned to him when he required assist together with his visa.

Together with Case 1000, Netanyahu faces fraud and breach of belief costs in two different circumstances, in addition to bribery in considered one of them. He has denied wrongdoing and claims with out proof that the fees have been fabricated and a part of a bid by the state prosecution and political rivals to finish his profession.

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