Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allegedly made two attempts to convince Israel’s opposition leader to support legislation that would have provided a Hollywood tycoon with millions in tax advantages, according to testimony delivered on Monday.
However, Yair Lapid, a prominent Netanyahu foe and fellow former prime minister, said he was not persuaded.
Lapid made the remarks while giving testimony in one of three corruption investigations against Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
According to the indictment, Netanyahu exploited his position of influence to further the interests of movie mogul Arnon Milchan in exchange for gifts, creating a contradiction between the premier’s official obligations and personal relationships.
According to the indictment, Netanyahu performed personal favors for Milchan, including requesting that the United States renew Milchan’s resident visa and extending Israeli laws exempting Israeli returnees from disclosing overseas income.
According to Israeli media, Lapid testified on Monday that Milchan and his attorneys first attempted unsuccessfully to convince him that extending the tax advantages for a decade would be good for Israel.
Then, according to the allegations, Netanyahu brought up the subject with Lapid again, once outside of a Cabinet meeting and once at the prime minister’s home.
Lapid said that after telling Netanyahu that it wouldn’t happen, the Israeli leader stated that it was “a good law.”
The longest-serving prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, rejects accusations of impropriety, claiming that he occasionally went against Milchan’s objectives rather than operating in his best interests.
He claims that the gift exchange was only a friendly gesture.
Milchan is scheduled to give a videotaped deposition in the case later this month from his home in London.
According to the Haaretz daily, Lapid, who was the finance minister at the time, sought legal counsel in 2013 about the viability of advancing the legislation that would have benefited Milchan.
Lapid allegedly stated he told Netanyahu and Milchan, “No way,” when they inquired about the likelihood of the legislation.
In three distinct scandals involving strong media moguls and rich allies, Netanyahu is accused of fraud, breach of trust, and receiving bribes.
He contests his guilt. Netanyahu disputes accusations that he is motivated to undermine the judiciary and modify it in order to have access to a way out of his indictment.
Israelis have gone to the polls five times in less than four years due to a lengthy political crisis that has been centered on corruption allegations, with each vote basically serving as a referendum on Netanyahu’s suitability to lead.
Despite his legal issues, Netanyahu was reinstated as prime minister late last year after losing the presidency to a coalition of rivals in 2021.
According to Israeli law, the prime minister is not required to resign while being tried.
More than 40 prosecution witnesses, including some of Netanyahu’s closest former confidants who turned against the prime minister, have testified throughout the trial, which started in May 2020.
Witness reports have shed light on the three cases as well as shocking information about Netanyahu’s personality and his family’s reputation for leading luxurious lives.