Stockbroking | Wealth Management | Corporate Advice

x

Resizing text on the web

To increase or decrease the magnification of a web page, press Ctrl and '+' (plus) to zoom in or Ctrl and '-' (minus) to zoom out. To return the page to its original size, press Ctrl + 0.

You can also scroll the mouse wheel up and down while holding Ctrl to increase/decrease zoom level.

Packer's links to Israeli PM Netanyahu

THE AUSSIE BILLIONAIRE AND THE ISRAELI PM

* POLICE PROBE

James Packer is one of several wealthy businessmen Israeli police questioned about expensive gifts allegedly given to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family, including champagne, hotel rooms, meals and cigars. Israeli police investigated whether Mr Netanyahu pushed certain projects and new laws to benefit Mr Packer and Israeli billionaire Arnon Milchan. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Mr Packer.

* FRIENDSHIP FORMS

Mr Packer struck up a close friendship with Mr Netanyahu in 2014 after the pair were introduced by mutual friend, Arnon Milchan, a major Hollywood producer. The Australian billionaire later bought a waterfront home next door to the Israeli PM's private beachfront home in Caesarea and was a special guest at speeches delivered by Mr Netanyahu to the US Congress and UN General Assembly in New York in 2015.

* GLITTERING GIFTS

Israeli police believe Mr Packer gave gifts worth $US71,000 to Mr Netanyahu, his wife Sara and their son Yair. In 2016 Israeli TV network Channel 10 aired claims that Mrs Netanyhau received 10 tickets to see Mr Packer's then girlfriend Mariah Carey in concert. Mr Packer is also claimed to have allowed Yair to stay in his Tel Aviv apartment, lent him his private jet to go on holiday, and picked up his luxury hotel bills in New York and Aspen, Colorado.

Mr Milchan, who produced hit movies including LA Confidential and 12 Years A Slave, and The Big Short, was questioned by police about $US214,000 worth of gifts, including cigars and champagne, he gave the Netanyahus.

* QUESTION TIME

Mr Packer was interviewed by Australian Federal Police in Melbourne in December 2016 after requests from Israeli investigators. He reportedly described Mr Netanyahu as a friend and said the gifts were organised by Mr Milchan's assistant. Mr Netanyahu later reportedly told investigators he had "now and again" asked Mr Packer to "bring me something to Israel from abroad".

Israeli police do not allege any wrongdoing by Mr Packer. But in a statement they said they had concluded there was sufficient evidence against the prime minister regarding fraud and breach of trust in connection with Mr Packer, and accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust regarding Mr Milchan.

* RESIDENCY BID

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri in January 2017 confirmed Mr Packer's lawyer asked him about the possibility of obtaining citizenship or residency for the billionaire in Israel, despite the fact he is not Jewish. Mr Packer reportedly registered with Israel's tax office, a prerequisite to applying for residency, in 2016.

* "NOT WORRIED AT ALL"

Mr Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. During his first state visit to Australia in February 2017 he insisted nothing would come of the police investigation into his ties with Mr Packer as there was "nothing there, except friendship". "No I'm not worried at all. Not at all," he told reporters. While Mr Netanyahu and his family have not denied accepting gifts, they have insisted they weren't bribes.

* NEXT STEPS

Attorney-General Avihai Mendelblit will review the material gathered by police before deciding whether Mr Netanyahu should be charged, a process that could take several months.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

Market Indices