Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under investigation. He told investigators that he was not aware that his wife Sara had accepted any illegal gifts from billionaire friend and Hollywood producer Arnon Michan. Apparently there were bottles of pink champagne and expensive cigars given to his wife and one of the cigars were the expensive Cohiba Siglos and Trinidads cigars. Netanyahu said he was not aware of the price of these Cohiba cigars although any cigar aficionado knows these are high end, expensive cigars, so that sounds a little fishy to me. Its possible Netanyahu’s wife Sara is a cigar smoker, but I doubt it seriously, so it’s hard to believe he didn’t know who these gifts from Milchan were for. Netanyahu told local police that his wife is “an independent person and I am an independent person,” thus he does not keep track of any alleged transactions between her and Milchan. Again if the Cohiba cigars were not for Benjamin himself then his wife Sara either smokes them or she gave them to someone else.
[Left to Right – Arnon Milchan and PM Benjamin Netanyahu]
Netanyahu is steadfast on having no knowledge of any cigar gifts or expensive champagne stating, “If there were any, from Milchan to my wife Sara”, he allegedly said, ” … It shouldn’t be expected that on these types of issues I know everything.” According to earlier reports Milchan also gave Netanyahu expensive Cohiba cigars over a 7-8 year period also including Cuban Montecristo’s totaling hundreds of thousands of shekels (Israeli currency).
When confronted about the Cohiba cigars and others the prime minister is reported to have accepted them from Milchan, but he also responded by saying that he was unaware of the actual price, or how many cigars he allegedly accepted from Milchan over a number of years and that told reporters that he bought many cigars over this same period with his own money. According to journalist Amit Segal, Netanyahu apparently told the police: “I didn’t check how much every cigar cost and obviously not the overall cost over many years…I bought, with my own money, many cigars over the years. There was a box of cigars here and a box of cigars there,” he told the police.
Attorney Yaakov Weinroth, who is representing Netanyahu, told the press a month ago: “Any reasonable person knows that someone bringing their friend cigars is not a criminal offense.” Although when Netanyahu provided his own testimony in the ongoing investigation it was Milchan himself who stated that Netanyahu and his wife Sara were the ones who asked him to give them these expensive presents.
Apparently from Milchan the term used to reference the bottles of champagne was called “Pinks” and the word used to refer the foreign cigars given by the tycoon every two weeks to the prime minister was called “leaves”.
In the ongoing police investigation called “ Case 1000” Netanyahu has been questioned 3 times under caution and in a separate case was dealing with an alleged attempt to broker favorable media coverage with Yedioth Aharonoth publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes.
We’ll have to see what transpires as this case continues to unfold, but one thing is for sure Netanyahu loves expensive Cohiba cigars and champagne no matter where he got them or for what reasons.
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