Hollywood tycoon testifies against Netanyahu at corruption trial

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Hollywood producer and tycoon Arnon Milchan on Sunday testified against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his corruption trial, saying he used to send lavish gifts to Netanyahu and his wife.

Testifying from the English seaside city of Brighton, near where Milchan is based, the 78-year-old said the gifts he routinely sent included expensive cigars, pink champagne, jewels, shirts and coats, and code names were used for them.

The quantities of the goods "went larger and larger" following requests from the couple, although it was Milchan who initiated the practice of sending the luxurious goods, according to the tycoon.

Milchan's testimony, which is expected to last several days, was transmitted through a video conference to the courtroom in Jerusalem where Netanyahu listened on the first day.

During the testimony, Netanyahu's wife Sara, who is on a private visit to Britain, sat in the room with Milchan.

In the case, dubbed Case 1000, the Israeli prime minister is accused of using his power to promote the personal interests of Milchan, an Israeli national who worked in Hollywood for decades, between 2007 and 2016.

According to the indictment, Netanyahu asked U.S. officials to extend Milchan's residence visa and attempted to grant him tax breaks in Israel. In exchange, Netanyahu and his family allegedly received expensive goods worth about 1 million new shekels (280,000 U.S. dollars) from Milchan.

In the trial, which began in 2020 and has been progressing slowly since, Netanyahu is also charged in two other cases of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister, denied all allegations against him, calling the indictment part of "a witch hunt."

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

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