New proof alleges Netanyahu illicitly acquired luxury jewelry, clothing for his wife

Prosecutors on Monday explained to the Jerusalem District Court that a witness in one of the corruption situations against opposition chief Benjamin Netanyahu experienced provided new proof relating to further pricey items that the former prime minister’s relatives allegedly been given illicitly from rich benefactors, in a development that could maybe delay the testimony of a essential witness.

The new info — documented by Hebrew media and relevant to a circumstance in which Netanyahu is at this time accused of obtaining illicit gifts totaling some $200,000 from wealthy benefactors — alleges that in addition to the at present recognized items, Netanyahu also gained 3 bracelets for his wife Sara at her ask for, one of them truly worth $45,000, as well as luxury luggage and clothes objects for her.

The information had been revealed a day just before a vital witness, previous Netanyahu aide and confidant Nir Hefetz, was slated to begin testifying at the Jerusalem District Court. Netanyahu himself is predicted to show up at the hearing for just the third time in the course of the demo, which began 1.5 years in the past.

But next the new revelations — facts of which were broadly published by Hebrew media — Netanyahu’s defense crew asked for that Hefetz’s testimony be postponed by a 7 days, in buy for them to have time to receive and assessment the new product. The courtroom was set to discuss the request on Tuesday, and was mentioned to be getting ready for Netanyahu and Hefetz’s arrival.

Hefetz, now a state’s witness, will offer testimony in Circumstance 4000 — the most significant of the 3 situations against the former leading. Netanyahu, who is billed with bribery, fraud, and breach of have confidence in in this scenario, says all the instances versus him ended up fabricated by the law enforcement and prosecution, and denies any wrongdoing.

Netanyahu also faces costs of fraud and breach of believe in in Circumstance 1000 and in Circumstance 2000. The new revelations relate to Case 1000, which entails suspicions that Netanyahu illicitly accepted gifts these kinds of as cigars and champagne from two billionaires — Hollywood-based Israeli movie mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian magnate James Packer.

Hadas Klein (Screen capture: Twitter)

The refreshing evidence supplied very last month by Hadas Klein, an aide and adviser to Milchan, prompted Lawyer Normal Avichai Mandelblit to approve further investigation things to do, some of which had been carried out overseas.

A gag get experienced been positioned on the developments to avoid the comply with-up investigation from getting compromised, prosecutors told the court docket on Monday.

They advised the court that despite the fact that the new proof does not relate directly to Hefetz’s testimony, they do not object to delaying the get started of his demo physical appearance. They claimed that the time constraints of the current investigation, which was not done until Monday morning, meant they experienced been not able to supply the defense with the content. If the testimony is in truth delayed, Hefetz would instead begin his testimony up coming Monday, November 22.

Former Key Minister’s Place of work manager Nir Hefetz arrives at the District Court docket in Tel Aviv, November 10, 2019. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Netanyahu’s lawful crew asked the court to quickly order a probe into leaks to the media of information about Klein’s new evidence.

“This is a critical leak of investigation product that is not in the fingers of the protection,” Netanyahu’s attorneys explained in a statement. “Therefore, it is crystal clear that the supply of the leak is with the prosecutors or just one of their witnesses.”

In accordance to Hebrew media experiences, Klein informed investigators on October 24 that Milchan and Packer jointly acquired jewellery and luggage for Netanyahu’s wife that were truly worth hundreds of thousands of shekels.

Klein reportedly explained how Milchan and Packer gave Sara Netanyahu, the former premier’s wife, three bracelets, one particular of which was value $45,000. Klein mentioned the jewelry and bags were being presented to Netanyahu, at her request, to mark a personal function.

Channel 13 information reported that Klein also stated luxurious shirts and a woolen coat that were also purchased for Sara Netanyahu.

Klein was also questioned why she experienced not stated the merchandise in the earlier, the Haaretz everyday claimed, citing a source familiar with the functions. Klein informed investigators that when she at first gave evidence her attorney at the time, her then-attorney Boaz Ben Tzur, who is now part of Benjamin Netanyahu’s protection group, explained to her to only give solutions to direct issues and not to present any information and facts of her own accord. She reported that throughout the program of demo proceedings, she was reminded of the objects.

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

Mandelblit is to make your mind up in the coming times no matter if to update the indictment towards Netanyahu in Case 1000, the Kan community broadcaster documented. These types of a move would then require further more questioning of the previous primary minister, so that he could give his model of gatherings, the report claimed.

A statement on behalf of the Netanyahu relatives claimed that “the aspects that were being presented relating to Mrs. Sara Netanyahu are not right. The timing of the publication now is not accidental, and testifies to the hardship of the prosecution and the weak point of the circumstances.”

In before testimony in 2017, Klein is mentioned to have described the unique arrangements for the deliveries of substantial-end cigars and champagne, according to Hebrew media stories at the time.

On Sunday, Channel 12 information broadcast recordings of discussions that Hefetz had with Netanyahu, his wife and his son Yair.

Hefetz designed hundreds of recordings of conversations for the duration of his years doing the job with the Netanyahus and they are to be a vital element of his proof in Case 4000, which consists of an alleged bribery offer for regulatory rewards to the Bezeq telecom firm in exchange for a lot more beneficial media coverage of the Netanyahus in the Bezeq-owned Walla news web site.

In accordance to Sunday’s report, the recordings clearly show how near Hefetz was to the Netanyahus, and their alleged obsession with their media graphic.

Sara Netanyahu poses with Arnon Milchan’s wife in a person of a lot of photos the primary minister has supplied to law enforcement to prove that champagne and cigars he been given from the Hollywood mogul were gifts offered in the framework of a long friendship between the two family members, November 16, 2017. (Hadashot information screenshot)

In a single of the recordings aired by the network, Sara Netanyahu is listened to telling Hefetz that there have been “mutual gifts” involving the Netanyahus and the Milchans. Sara went on to demonstrate that she would obtain publications and other toys for the Milchan young children.

Sara Netanyahu also told Hefetz that she acquired Milchan’s spouse a gold chain and crystal candlesticks.

“I do not know how much it expense,” she mentioned and pressured: “Not pennies. I simply cannot say there have been items for countless numbers of shekels… but surely attractive presents. Definitely relative to our modest wages.”

In an additional, Hefetz is read talking about with then-primary minister Netanyahu an audiotape that emerged in 2018 of Sara screaming at an adviser in 2009 around a publication she viewed as unflattering.

“How does it seem?” Netanyahu is heard expressing.

“It doesn’t audio so good, she is actually screaming,” Hefetz responded.

Far more of the recordings appeared to show the primary minister’s wife instructing Hefetz to act in opposition to her husband’s political opponents, at a time when Hefetz had now been appointed head of the Countrywide Information Directorate, the report explained.

In one particular connect with, Netanyahu’s son, Yair, spoke to Hefetz about then-economic climate minister Naftali Bennett — the existing primary minister — soon after Sara Netanyahu complained that Netanyahu’s Likud party had shared a social media put up from Bennett, which she noticed as a improve to the latter’s political standing even however he was a political rival.

“You know that Bennett is her a delicate stage,” Yair Netanyahu advised Hefetz.

“Yes, Bennett and also Ayelet [Shaked],” Hefetz responded, referring to Bennett’s No. 2 in the Yamina get together.

A statement on behalf of Netanyahu in reaction to that report mentioned that “as predicted, we have returned to the interval of selective protection, which [typically] starts with loud trumpeting and ends with a tiny weak voice.”

Then-key minister Benjamin Netanyahu witnessed as he arrives for a court docket listening to at the District Court docket in Jerusalem on April 5, 2021. (Oren Ben Hakoon/POOL)

In Situation 4000, Netanyahu is alleged to have worked to illicitly and lucratively gain the company passions of Bezeq’s controlling shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, in trade for optimistic protection on the Elovitch-owned Walla news web-site. Netanyahu is accused of abusing his powers when he served as equally key minister and communications minister from 2014 to 2017.

Hefetz turned state’s witness immediately after getting arrested and questioned in excess of a two-week time period, and is considered to have delivered prosecutors with crucial facts as an interlocutor involving Netanyahu and Bezeq’s Elovitch.

Previously this month, aspects ended up leaked to Channel 13 of a conference concerning Hefetz and condition prosecutors to prepare for his testimony.

Primarily based on the data been given by the network, Hefetz in his testimony is expected to highlight the family’s “obsession” with the media, notably the Walla news website, at the centre of Circumstance 4000. Spokespeople were being built knowledgeable that element of their job was to “correct the historic injustice performed to Sara Netanyahu as a consequence of her husband’s community purpose,” Hefetz explained to prosecutors.

In Case 2000, Netanyahu is accused of attempting to access a quid professional quo with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes for optimistic media protection in trade for legislation weakening rival newspaper Israel Hayom. Mozes is billed with bribery in the circumstance.

The evidentiary period of Netanyahu’s demo opened in April and has so far listened to testimony from senior executives at the Walla web-site.