PM under investigation: Benjamin Netanyahu allegedly told police investigators that he was unaware of any illegal gifts from billionaire Arnon Milchan. He reportedly said he was unaware of champagne bottles being given to his wife, Sara. And he did not know the price of cigars he received as gifts from Milchan.
According to report on Channel 2 on Tuesday night, Netanyahu apparently told police that his wife is “an independent person and I am an independent person,” and thus he does not keep track of any alleged transactions between her and Milchan.
Netanyahu insisted that he had no knowledge of any gifts or champagne. “If there were any, from Milchan to my wife Sara”, he allegedly said, ” … It shouldn’t be expected that on these types of issues I know everything.”
According to a previous reports, Milchan also gave Netanyahu expensive cigars over 7-8 years, including iconic Cuban Montecristos, Cohiba Siglos and Trinidads. The totaling amount is hundreds of thousands of shekels.
When asked about the boxes of cigars which the prime minister is reported to have accepted from Milchan, he also reportedly responded that he was unaware of the individual price and cumulative total of cigars he allegedly received over a number of years from Milchan and contended that he had bought many cigars with his own money.
According to journalist Amit Segal, Netanyahu apparently told the police: “I didn’t check how much every cigar cost and obviously not the overall cost over many years…I bought, with my own money, many cigars over the years. There was a box of cigars here and a box of cigars there,” he told the police.
Attorney Yaakov Weinroth, who represents Netanyahu, told the press a month ago: “Any reasonable person knows that someone bringing their friend cigars is not a criminal offense.”
When he provided his own testimony in the ongoing investigation, Milchan claimed that Netanyahu and his wife were the ones who asked him to give them the presents.
“Pinks” was the term he claimed was used in reference to the bottles of champagne from Milchan and “leaves” was allegedly the word used to refer to the foreign cigars given by the tycoon every two weeks to the the prime minister.
Netanyahu has been questioned under caution three times in the police investigation termed Case 1000 and in a separate case dealing with an alleged attempt to broker favorable media coverage with Yedioth Aharonoth publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes.