A Channel 13 report on Friday showed a possible connection between two of the criminal cases against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Cases 1000 and 2000.
According to the report, testimony in the two cases has shown that Arnon Mozes, publisher of the popular Yedioth Ahronoth daily and Ynet website, warned Netanyahu at one point that journalists were looking into his son Yair’s ties to billionaire James Packer, and warned that the two should scale back their friendship.
Packer is a key figure in Case 1000, in which Netanyahu is suspected of receiving illegal gifts and favors from Packer and businessman Arnon Milchan in exchange for advancing their business interests.
Mozes is a suspect in Case 2000, which centers around an alleged quid pro quo deal between him and Netanyahu for favorable coverage in exchange for the premier working to limit a rival paper.
Yair Netanyahu is reported to have attended parties at Packer’s home and gone on a cruise on the billionaire’s yacht.
A spokesman for Netanyahu called the Channel 13 report “”a one-sided and distorted leak.”
In her testimony to police, excerpts of which were aired by Channel 12 news last Friday, Hadas Klein, personal assistant to both Milchan and Packer, recounted the Netanyahu family’s dubious requests from Packer.
According to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, the prime minister and his wife received gifts amounting to NIS 701,146 ($195,000), with NIS 477, 972 ($130,000) worth of cigars, champagne and jewelry from Milchan, and NIS 229, 174 ($75,000) worth of cigars and champagne from Packer.
Mandelblit said he intends to indict Netanyahu, who has denied wrongdoing, with fraud and breach of trust in the case, pending a hearing. Neither Milchan nor Packer were charged.
Details of testimonies in the case have begun coming to light in recent days after Netanyahu’s lawyers collected the case files in the corruption investigations against him, after more than a month of refusing to accept the material. They have claimed the delay was caused by unresolved issues with their payment.
A spokesman for Netanyahu has blamed the state for the attorneys not being paid, citing officials’ refusal to allow wealthy foreign benefactors to foot the prime minister’s legal bills.
The panel said it was inappropriate for non-Israeli benefactors to pay for the prime minister’s legal defense in a criminal case that alleges he received illicit gifts from wealthy individuals in Israel and abroad.
Mandelblit on Wednesday agreed to delay the pre-indictment hearing for Netanyahu in three criminal cases by almost three months from its original July 10 deadline, to October 2-3.
In addition to Cases 1000 and 2000, in which Netanyahu has been accused of fraud and breach of trust, he also faces charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000, also known as the Bezeq corruption probe.