Police suspect Hollywood mogul was go-between for PM, newspaper chief — report
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Police suspect Hollywood mogul was go-between for PM, newspaper chief — report

Arnon Milchan, who is suspected of bribing Netanyahu, said to have boasted of connecting PM with Yedioth publisher, a suspect in a separate case

Producer Arnon Milchan accepts the Film Tribute Award at the 26th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street, November 28, 2016, in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Producer Arnon Milchan accepts the Film Tribute Award at the 26th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street, November 28, 2016, in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Police investigators reportedly have evidence that Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan, suspected of giving bribes to Benjamin Netanyahu in one case, also acted as a middleman in a suspected illegal deal discussed by the prime minister and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes in a separate case.

The Tel Aviv district prosecution believes that Netanyahu “systematically” demanded benefits worth about NIS 1 million ($282,000) from Milchan in so-called Case 1000, public broadcaster Kan reported last month.

According to a report Tuesday by Hadashot TV news, police have evidence that Milchan was also involved in Case 2000, which involves a suspected illicit quid-pro-quo deal between Netanyahu and Mozes that would have seen the prime minister hobble a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in exchange for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

The report said police have evidence that Milchan even boasted of being the go-between and was proud of his part in the alleged deal.

Police are trying to convince Milchan to come to Israel, either to be interrogated or to testify about the case, the report said.

Publisher and owner of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper Arnon ‘Noni’ Mozes arrives for questioning at the Lahav 433 investigation unit in Lod on January 15, 2017. (Koko/Flash90)

Hadashot also said that police now have evidence of a financial deal between Netanyahu and Mozes with monetary value. According to the report, the Justice Ministry had said earlier that if police found evidence of a financial deal between the two in Case 2000, it would take on much greater legal significance.

The state prosecution is currently considering whether to indict the prime minister in cases 1000 and 2000, after police in February recommended putting him on trial in both.

Since the beginning of 2017 Netanyahu has been questioned 10 times by police regarding various suspicions against him. Last week police questioned Netanyahu for the third time in third high-profile probe, having acquired new evidence from a key state’s witness reportedly implicating him in another illicit quid-pro-quo deal.

The probe, known as Case 4000, involves suspicions that Netanyahu, who has also served as communications minister for several years over his past two terms, advanced regulatory decisions benefiting Bezeq controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch in exchange for flattering coverage of the Netanyahus from the Elovitch-owned Walla news site.

In April Channel 10 news reported that prosecutors are likely to recommend charging Netanyahu with breach of trust in Case 1000, but may not pursue the more serious bribery charges recommended by police.

Prosecutors have also yet to formulate an opinion on Case 2000, in which police have also recommended bribery charges.

The prime minister’s wife, Sara, and son Yair have both been questioned in the cases as well. The Netanyahus have denied any wrongdoing.

Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.

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