Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allegedly leaked classified information on Iran to his friend, billionaire businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, according to leaked testimony aired Monday from one of the criminal cases against the premier.
The then-head of the Shin Bet internal security agency, Yuval Diskin, testified that Netanyahu had sent him around 2010 to check whether the then-head of the Mossad spy agency had leaked the details to Milchan. However, what he found out was that Netanyahu himself had in fact leaked most of the details.
The transcripts, published by the Kan public broadcaster Monday night, are from Diskin’s testimony in a graft case known as Case 1000, in which Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust for allegedly helping Milchan and another businessman, James Packer, with regulatory issues in exchange for lavish gifts.
Diskin gave his testimony to shed light on Netanyahu’s efforts to renew Milchan’s US visa, which had been revoked because Milchan had helped Israel on security matters.
But toward the end of his testimony, according to the report, Diskin provided surprising details on a different matter.
“I was at a work meeting with Bibi,” he said, using the premier’s nickname. “[It was] a time when we had discussions on the Iranian issue. One day he sends everyone out of the room and tells me, ‘Listen, I need you to urgently investigate [then-Mossad chief] Meir Dagan.'”
Netanyahu then arranged a meeting between Diskin and Milchan, saying that Dagan had informed Milchan of the discussions on Iran.
When Diskin asked Milchan what Dagan had told him, the businessman said: “What Meir told me is nothing, because I know everything, all the details, because Bibi personally tells me everything.”
Diskin said he returned to Netanyahu, who had been eager to hear his answer, and told him what Milchan had said.
“Immediately, it was like a switch went off in [Netanyahu’s] head, he changed the subject and the matter was never raised again,” Diskin said.
Netanyahu’s office on Monday called Diskin’s assertions a “total lie.”
“The prime minister never spoke to Milchan about anything related to Israel’s plans regarding Iran, and any comment saying so is a total lie,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
Both Dagan, who died in 2016, and Diskin had been prominent critics of Netanyahu over the past decade.