Netanyahu denies graft after Hollywood producer questioned

PM says again on corruption investigations: 'There is nothing,a and there will be nothing.'


Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing after reports Wednesday that a Hollywood producer was questioned over whether he received help in exchange for expensive gifts
to the premier.

The investigation is one of several involving Netanyahu and his wife, leading to speculation over whether he will eventually be forced to resign.

According to Israeli media reports, Israeli authorities in recent days questioned Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan under caution in London over whether he sought Netanyahu's help in business deals in exchange for gifts.

Milchan allegedly gave Netanyahu and his wife Sara gifts including expensive cigars, jewelry and pink champagne.

The Hollywood producer has previously been questioned, but not under caution.

"Any attempt to describe as inappropriate the deep and long-standing friendship between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Arnon Milchan is baseless and in any case doomed to failure," a Netanyahu family spokesman said in a statement.

The statement repeated what Netanyahu has often said regarding the investigations: "There will be nothing because there was nothing."

Milchan, who is Israeli, has produced a long list of big-budget Hollywood films.

Last month, Netanyahu's former chief of staff signed a deal to turn state's witness in probes involving the premier.

In addition to the investigation involving Milchan, another is probing suspicions that Netanyahu sought a secret deal with the publisher of top-selling daily Yediot Aharonot.

Sara Netanyahu has faced an investigation into whether she routinely claimed state payments for personal housekeeping expenses at the couple's official and private residences.

Private broadcaster Channel Two recently reported that the attorney general was expected to announce charges against her by September 10.

Separately, police have been probing suspected corruption in the purchase of submarines from Germany's ThyssenKrupp.

David Shimron, a relative of Netanyahu and his family lawyer who also represented ThyssenKrupp in Israel, has been among those questioned.

David Sharan, a former chief of Netanyahu's office, has also been detained.

Netanyahu himself, however, has not been named as a suspect in the submarine case.

The 67-year-old right-wing leader has been prime minister for a total of more than 11 years, from 1996-99 and beginning again in 2009.