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Australian billionaire’s evidence implicates Netanyahu in corruption scandal

Australian businessman James Packers [The West Australian/Facebook]

Australian businessman James Packers has confirmed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded gifts for himself and his wife in return for advancing Packer’s business interests, according to the Times of Israel.

The billionaire, who runs the Crown gaming empire and reportedly has a close relationship with Netanyahu, voluntarily attended an interview with the Australian Federal Police, after months of stalling, under the condition that his testimony would not be used against him, a police spokesman said today.

The questioning was the latest in a series of interviews conducted with prominent businessmen as part of an investigation into bribes allegedly received by the prime minister, dubbed Case 1000.

Israel Police were said to be pleased with Packer’s testimony, as it further cements the accusations against Netanyahu and his wife that the gifts were not given freely by friends, as the couple have alleged during questioning.

Israeli police have also questioned Packer’s business partner, Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan, over the affair, who has reportedly testified that the prime minister explicitly requested expensive cigars, again contradicting Netanyahu’s claims.

Netanyahu was grilled by police last week for the sixth time in connection to Case 1,000 and Case 2000, in which he faces allegations of negotiating a deal for more favourable media coverage with Arnon Mozes, publisher of popular Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. He has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Read: Corruption in Israel is not just an Israeli issue

The prime minister has also been questioned recently in regards to two other investigations: Case 3000, also known as the “submarine scandal”, albeit not as a suspect, and Case 4000, in which a close associate of Netanyahu is suspected of providing confidential information to Israel’s largest telecoms company.

This week, the Knesset added to the controversy when it passed, in a first vote, a law that would bar police from recommending whether charges should be filed against public officials. Critics have slammed the proposal as a transparent attempt to shield Netanyahu from further inquiry.

In response, Israeli police have temporarily stopped investigations into Netanyahu’s involvement in Case 2000 and 3000 to instead focus on the gift giving case before the bill comes into effect.

Netanyahu is not the first Israeli leader to face criminal investigation; former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of breach of trust and bribery in 2014, serving 16 months of a 27-month term, and Ariel Sharon was questioned while in office over allegations of bribery and campaign financing illegalities.

Israel frequently refers to itself as the “only democracy in the Middle East”, but this remains highly debateable as corruption scandals threaten to embroil the highest political authority in the country.

Read: Netanyahu calls for Azaria to be pardoned

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  • Fargo

    Israel is tribal tyranny, that enjoys subjugating millions of people for generations. They are as much a democracy as soviet communist party was. Unless they give up ethno-racial Zionism they won’t go anywhere but down.

    • si91

      Funny, seeing as the Soviets backed Arafat and his single party dictatorship which resembled their own, with state sanctioned racism and no rights for anybody. Israel, on the other hand, is a multi party democracy.

      • Fargo

        “Soviets backed Arafat”

        Not fan of either one, nor the PA, an instrument of ethno-racial Zionists to subjugate Palestinians. Why don’t you see the facts, instead of hoping by throwing words like “democracy” and “multi party”, etc. you can hide the tyranny of ethno-racial Zionism.

        • si91

          Are you that unaware of Israel’s regular free and fair elections in which all sorts of parties, including Arab parties with Arab MKs participate? The ethno racial tyranny you’re talking about is in the Arab world, where there is no democracy, no free and fair elections, let alone minority rights, and Jews cannot even enter.

          • Fargo

            You have 5 million people in West Bank and Gaza under occupation, and subjugation with no rights and no redress. Any Israeli can kill a Palestinian without being accountable, it happens all the time. In addition to the 5 million Palestinians in West Bank/Gaza, there are about 5~7 million Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed and forced to exile. Don’t give me the nonsense about democracy. The white people of Apartheid South Africa had democracy as well, the Nazis came to power through democracy also. Debate freedom in Saudi Arabia with someone from Israel and Thomas Friedman. When I talk about tyranny of ethno-racial Zionism, it doesn’t mean I am in favor of Wahhabi terror regime of al Saud tribe in Arabia. They are best buddies with Israel now, maybe they are two sides of the same tyrannical coin.

          • si91

            They have no rights and no redress because the Fatah and Hamas dictators won’t give them any. And no, Israelis cannot just kill Palestinians and get away with it. Israel has a court system and will hold them accountable for it. In contrast, Palestine literally has to set up signs warning Jews not to enter areas under PA control because otherwise they will be attacked and killed, as two IDF soldiers were lynched in Ramallah in 2000 before a shrieking mob of Palestinian barbarians. Where was the justice? It took Israel to track down these killers and punish them. All the Palestinian “police” cared about was suppressing the footage of the attack. Far from promoting justice, the Palestinian leaders promote terrorism and pay the salaries of terrorists.

            Furthermore, there are not “5-7 million Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed.” First off, most of those people are descendants of the original refugees and were born in the Arab world. They were not “ethnically cleansed” because they were not around in 1948. Additionally, many of those Palestinian refugees fled because the invading Arab armies asked them to evacuate to facilitate their attack on Israel. To the extent that any were forced out, it is because they chose to wage war against Israel instead of accepting a partition plan and living in peace alongside the Israelis.

            The comparison to apartheid is absurd. In apartheid SA, blacks could not vote, run for office, or have their own political parties, speak and write freely, or yet in Israel, Arabs can do all of these things. They have more freedom, rights, opportunities,and a higher standard of living than any Arabs in any Arab state. Where in the Arab world is there democracy like in Israel, let alone minority rights for non Arabs? And if you are so concerned by the Wahhabi terror regime of Saudi Arabia, why do you support the Palestinian terror regimes of Hamas and Fatah, and advocate that they get a country of their own, so they can terrorize Israel and brutalize the Palestinians under their control even more than they already do?

          • Fargo

            PA is a creation of Israel. Abbas was selected by Israel. Israel doesn’t let true Palestinian leadership to take place. They either kill them or imprison them. Don’t give me the BS about the victims being responsible for their own plight. Get a book and read. You are repeating the same BS as what white apartheid south African regime were repeating, that blacks have it better under apartheid than any other black countries in Africa. The same exact BS. But, freedom has no value.

            And you are wrong about apartheid South Africa. Blacks could vote in their own parliament, they had their own communities, they had more rights than Palestinians in today’s Israel. If you have issue with that, read what bishop Desmond Tutu says. Just read Nelson Mandela’s grandson after visiting Israel/Palestine said recently: Israel is far worse than apartheid south Africa. Read what Mandela said when he was alive about Israel. You are confused and uneducated, with a total ethnic view about your own tribe.

          • si91

            What “true” Palestinian leadership are you talking about? Every Arab leader in human history has been a tribal chief, a king, a dictator, a mullah, or a terrorist. There has never been any meaningful commitment to democracy there, so there’s nothing for Israel to block, even if it wanted to. Furthermore, blacks actually were better off under apartheid. Look at their lifespans under apartheid vs now, and they have plummeted thanks to ANC economic mismanagement, AIDS denial, and heinous corruption. Other Africans from other African countries actually moved to SA for work because the wages were higher during apartheid. Now, even South Africans cannot get good wages. In apartheid SA, blacks and whites did not vote in the same elections, but in Israel, they do, so the apartheid analogy is inappropriate. Name a right that apartheid SA blacks had that Israeli Arabs don’t have. Israeli Arabs have all the rights and freedoms that apartheid SA blacks were fighting for. It is not surprising that Mandela would slander Israel. He was a Communist sympathizer and the Communist bloc demonized Israel. SA MP Kenneth Meshoe vehemently disagrees with the apartheid analogy because it is a racist lie spread by Israel’s enemies to conceal their own apartheid.

          • Fargo

            Another unimpressive pile of nonsense by an ethno-racial Zionist. So slavery and apartheid were good for blacks. Do I deduce if jews had behaved better under Nazis they would have thrived? Israel is a flawed entity, no matter how much you brainwash yourself, it is not.

          • si91

            I didn’t say anything about slavery, so stop putting words in my mouth. Furthermore, I did not say that apartheid was good for blacks, only that they were better off in many ways under apartheid than they are now, because the ANC government is simply atrocious. It is a case of lesser of two evils, and in any case, is not at all comparable to Israel because Israel is the only apartheid free state in the Middle East that grants non Jews all the rights and privileges that Jews have, which was not the case in apartheid SA. Israel is indeed flawed, but it is the least flawed society in the Middle East, and being a democracy, has the means to introspect and correct itself through elections and peaceful, legal reforms. Can you say the same thing about the terrorist PA or indeed, any Arab country? Because that is where the apartheid is.

          • Fargo

            The Israeli regime is criminal, has always been.

          • si91

            Cry me a river. They are surrounded by criminals, terrorists, Islamists, and thugs who want them all dead. They do what they have to do in order to survive.

          • Fargo

            Islamist terrorist ISIS al Qaeda and all are creation of the ethno-racial Zionists and their BFFs Wahhabi terrorists of al Saudi tribe. All losers. They arrested a jihadi leader of ISIS in Libya in September, his name ended up to be Benjamin Ephraim, an Israeli Mossad terrorist. Israeli explanation: they had infiltrated ISIS in Libya….. yeah right!!! The head chopper is a Mossad terrorist.

          • si91

            Yeah sure. As if Muslims need an excuse to kill one another. The Mossad infiltrated ISIS. That is what they do: infiltrate terrorist organizations and kill terrorists.