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Likud denies Netanyahu promoted billionaire’s interests

Party says report PM met with Japanese officials to advance establishment of casino for Sheldon Adelson is ‘totally false’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, January 18, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, January 18, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Officials in the Likud party on Thursday came out against a recent report to the effect that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promoted the private interests of American-Jewish billionaire and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson during a state visit to Japan.

The officials, quoted by the Walla news site, stressed that the report, broken by Haaretz journalist Uri Misgav earlier this week, was “totally false, and has no foundation in or connection to reality.”

“The prime minister did not request any private meeting with anyone in the Japanese government, and certainly did not ask for a meeting to try to advance the interests of Mr. Adelson, or of any other person. Such events will simply never exist,” the officials were quoted as saying.

Misgav had quoted a Japanese government official claiming that during a January visit by Netanyahu to Tokyo, the prime minister was in touch with high-ranking officials in the hopes of advancing the establishment of a casino in the country.

The casino, the report continued, would be owned and operated by Adelson.

Earlier Thursday, Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog demanded that Netanyahu immediately address the allegations.

Adelson, the largest donor to Republican causes in the US in 2012, is considered to be Netanyahu’s close ally and patron.

He owns the Israel Hayom free daily newspaper, known for its support of Netanyahu.

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