Report: Netanyahu may have benefited from cousin's Libya deals

HuffPost reports that a company owned by PM's cousin sold electrodes to Libya while Netanyahu invested in its raw material supply company.

Ben Ariel,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is enmeshed in a roiling scandal connected to Seadrift Coke, a Texas-based firm previously owned by his cousin Nathan Milikowsky, HuffPost reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, Netanyahu made a return of over 700 percent from the company’s stock, which he purchased in 2007 and sold in 2010.

HuffPost said that while Netanyahu held Seadrift’s stock, another company owned by Milikowsky, C/G Electrodes, was charged by the US Department of Commerce with selling electrodes to Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya in 2007 and 2008 in violation of US nuclear nonproliferation regulations.

During that time, according to HuffPost, Seadrift Coke was the main supplier of raw materials to C/G Electrodes, which means that Netanyahu likely benefited from the Libya sales.

The documents related to the Commerce investigation do not detail which Libyan entity purchased the materials, which are essential in the production of steel for various industries.

The Department of Commerce charged the company for the illegal sales to Libya on 23 occasions. The shipments, several of which went through Canada, were valued at $6.8 million. The agency fined the company $250,000 as part of a settlement agreement.

In August 2007 ― a month after the Libyan transactions began ― Netanyahu purchased shares in C/G Electrodes’ main supplier of raw material, Seadrift Coke, according to HuffPost. Since both companies were controlled by Milikowsky and Seadrift had binding supply agreements with C/G Electrodes to supply the majority of the raw material required to make graphite electrodes, the business ties between Seadrift and C/G Electrodes suggest that Netanyahu likely benefited from his cousin’s Libya dealings.

Milikowsky told HuffPost in response that Netanyahu did not know about C/G Electrodes’ sales to Libya.

“He was not involved in that company and was just a passive investor in Seadrift. Besides that, I won’t say anything else, since I’m not talking to reporters,” he stressed.

A spokesman for Netanyahu made clear that the prime minister was a passive investor in Seadrift with a small percentage of shares.

“He did not take any part in the company’s management or business,” said the spokesperson.

“The actions taken in the case were reported appropriately to the relevant authorities,” he added.

HuffPost asked him to clarify whether he was referring to the Commerce Department or to Netanyahu’s investment in Seadrift, but he did not respond. He also did not respond to questions about whether Netanyahu was aware of his cousin’s dealings with Libya.




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