Film mogul Milchan said to fear harassment from Netanyahu base if he attends trial

Newspaper says key witness, who received okay to give upcoming testimony remotely for health reasons, feels he would need ‘an army of security guards’ if he returned to testify

Arnon Milchan poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Widows,' showing as part of the opening gala of the BFI London Film Festival in London, on October 10, 2018. (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
Arnon Milchan poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Widows,' showing as part of the opening gala of the BFI London Film Festival in London, on October 10, 2018. (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan, who is a key witness in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial, has said he fears his family could be put at risk if he returns to Israel to testify in the case, according to a report Friday.

The Jerusalem District Court this week okayed Milchan’s request to testify by video call from Israel’s embassy in London, after saying he couldn’t travel to Israel for health reasons. Prosecutors have requested he take the stand remotely starting June 18.

However, a report by the Haaretz daily said Milchan also fears potential action against him and his family by Netanyahu’s supporters, apparently due to instances of harassment against prosecutors and some witnesses — including death threats.

“My home in Beit Yanai is completely exposed. Do I need them to send me something? Even if I feel 100 percent in regards to my health, I wouldn’t take the stand,” Milchan was quoted as telling an unnamed Israeli celebrity recently.

The newspaper said Milchan felt he would need “an army of security guards” if he came to Israel. “My kids are paying a price. I am afraid,” he reportedly added.

The report also noted Milchan’s travel over the past two years despite his claims of bad health, saying he flew by private jet between his properties in Bora Bora, Malibu, Sussex County in England, and also visited Las Vegas.

Arnon Milchan (center) with Shimon Peres (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu, March 28, 2005. (Flash90/File)

Milchan is a witness in Case 1000, which revolves around luxury gifts received by Netanyahu and his family from those moguls, and quid pro quos he is accused of having provided in return. The indictment against Netanyahu alleges that he assisted Milchan with US visa issues and regulatory and tax benefits relating to his business interests.

Milchan was grilled several times by police during the investigation. He was last in Israel for questioning in 2016 and sat down with detectives overseas in 2017.

Milchan was not charged in the case, while Netanyahu was indicted for fraud and breach of trust. The premier is also charged with fraud in two other cases, and bribery in one of them. He denies all wrongdoing and claimed without evidence that the charges are an effort by police, prosecutors, political rivals, the media and others to force him from office.

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