Businessman Arnon Milchan on Sunday began his testimony from Brighton, England, in Case 1000, in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is accused of having a conflict of interest while he was the Minister of Communications and handled affairs related to him.
Milchan is considered a key witness in the case, in which Netanyahu is accused of fraud and breach of trust. According to the indictment, Milchan provided the Prime Minister with kickbacks worth hundreds of thousands of Shekels in exchange for allegedly advancing personal interests, while Netanyahu was in a conflict of interest.
At the beginning of his testimony, Milchan was asked by the prosecutor, Liat Ben-Ari, if he had visited Israel in recent years and answered that he had not visited since 2016 since he did not want his children to be exposed to the proceedings and out of fear they would affect them.
He said he would visit Israel several times a year before 2016 for two weeks at a time.
At the start of the testimony, Milchan mentioned that First Lady Sara Netanyahu's presence in the courtroom would not affect the testimony: "When you say the truth, there is nothing to fear."
During his testimony, Milchan spoke about the operations of the "Milchan Bros." company through which he invested in Israel's Channel 10. "We were 50% of Channel 10," he recalled, adding that Yossi Mimon and Ron Lord invested with him.
When asked who manages his Israeli assets, he answered Hadas Klein, Yonatan Hasson, and Sara Shochat. When asked later about Klein's position, he answered: "She helps when I'm not in Israel," and clarified that she deals with matters of payments.
According to him, Netanyahu thinks that Hadas Klein "knows too much"; thus, it is not worth continuing to employ her. Milchan explained that he never, at any point, thought to fire her.
Milchan confirmed during his testimony that he gave the Netanyahus cigars, champagne, and jewelry. When asked who initiated the gifts, Milchan answered: "In the beginning, it was my initiative; after that, it turned into requests. I gave Hadas Klein a free hand since I wasn't in Israel enough; I told her whatever the Prime Minister wanted or needed - carte blanche. Here I'm not talking about friendship, as a citizen, I don't want the Prime Minister to have problems that are irrelevant to his position. After that, it became a routine."
The witness added that the Prime Minister and his wife contacted him on the matter and recounted: "There were codes, we called shirts 'dwarfs,' cigars we called 'leaves,' champagne we called 'pink things.'"
Milchan added: "Sometimes I would come to visit and bring pink things and leaves, and other times Bibi would ask, 'Hey, do have any leaves at home?' we always had them in stock. As far as I was concerned, it wasn't a big deal, but apparently, I don't know the laws, when it happened, I checked, and Netanyahu checked and said that friends were allowed to give gifts out of the house."