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Prosecutors ask court to add new witnesses in Netanyahu’s Case 1000

Request comes after information provided by Arnon Milchan’s personal assistant regarding expansive jewelry and clothes allegedly given to former PM at his wife’s behest

Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a court hearing in his trial, at the District Court in Jerusalem on March 28, 2022. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)
Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a court hearing in his trial, at the District Court in Jerusalem on March 28, 2022. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)

State prosecutors on Wednesday asked the Jerusalem District Court to add three new witnesses in Case 1000, one of the three cases being deliberated in former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial.

The case involves suspicions that Netanyahu illicitly accepted gifts including cigars and champagne from two billionaires — Israeli Hollywood film producer Arnon Milchan and Australian magnate James Packer.

It is also alleged that Netanyahu received from Milchan and Packer three bracelets for his wife Sara at her request, one of them worth $45,000, as well as luxury bags and clothing items for her.

Milchan was not charged in the case, while Netanyahu was indicted for fraud and breach of trust. He denies all wrongdoing.

The three requested witnesses are Milchan’s daughter Elinor, Packer’s personal assistant Ian Morris, who bought the bracelets, and Inbar Blankman, who worked at the Caprice Jewelry Shop in Ramat Gan where the expensive jewelry was procured.

Arnon Milchan (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference in the Knesset, on March 28, 2005. (Flash90/ File)

The prosecution said the court’s approval of the new witnesses will not constitute a change to the current indictments.

The request to add witnesses came after Milchan’s personal assistant Hadas Klein contacted the prosecution last October regarding new information in the case regarding the jewelry and expensive gifts given to Netanyahu at his wife’s request.  This prompted then-attorney general Avichai Mandelblit to approve further investigation activities, some of which were carried out abroad.

Netanyahu is on trial in three corruption cases. He faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000 and in Case 2000, and charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000. He denies wrongdoing and says the charges were fabricated in a political coup, led by the police and state prosecution.

In Case 2000, Netanyahu is accused of attempting to reach a quid pro quo with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes for positive media coverage.

Case 4000 is the most serious of the three cases against the former prime minister. Netanyahu is alleged to have advanced regulatory decisions as communications minister and prime minister that immensely benefited media mogul Shaul Elovitch, who was also the controlling shareholder in Bezeq, the country’s largest telecommunications firm, despite opposition from Communication Ministry officials. In exchange, he allegedly was given what amounted to editorial control over Elovitch’s Walla news site.

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