Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan has begun testifying in the corruption trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a courtroom broadcast live to Jerusalem from the British seaside town.
Although the trial is being held in Jerusalem, Mr Milchan’s testimony took place at the prosecution’s request in Brighton, near where the 78-year-old Milchan is now based. The testimony is expected to last several days.
Prosecutors allege that Prime Minister Netanyahu improperly accepted gifts worth about 700,000 shekels (about $290,000) from Milchan and other Australian billionaires, which the indictment called “champagne and cigars.” supply line.”
The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing in this case and two other cases pending in the same court.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has been accused of helping Milchan with his business interests and obtaining a US visa. The prime minister said the gift-giving between his friends was normal behavior and that the prime minister’s trial was a political witch hunt.
Milchan hinted at a deeper patriotism brewing in the relationship. In his testimony, he used Netanyahu’s nickname and said, “I cannot express how much Bibi and I have acted in secret for our country.”
As the prime minister arrived at the Jerusalem court and watched from a distance, Milchan greeted him offscreen with “Shalom, Bibi!”
A criminal investigation into Netanyahu, who is currently serving a record sixth term as prime minister, began in 2016, sparking years of political turmoil in Israel.
After a string of inconclusive elections and 18 months of opposition government, Prime Minister Netanyahu returned to power in December as head of the far-right government.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has denied any connection between his trial and judicial reforms that his coalition is calling for and has met with strong opposition.
He has been charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust for offering regulatory benefits to businessmen in exchange for favorable media coverage.
https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/crime/cigars-champagne-and-secrets-at-netanyahu-trial-c-11086320 Cigars, champagne and the secrets of the Netanyahu trial