Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, from whom PM is alleged of receiving favors, testifies from Brighton; He said there were ‘codes’ for champagne, cigars and clothes: ‘In the beginning, I was the initiator – then it turned into requests. Bibi said that it is allowed to receive gifts from friends’

Businessman and movie producer Arnon Milchan provided testimony to Jerusalem District Court on Sunday in the corruption trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu via video link from Brighton, United Kingdom.

During his testimony, he acknowledged buying cigars and champagne for the Netanyahus and said that the requested quantities continued to increase.

Arnon Milchan and Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photos: Yonatan Sindel, Getty Images)

Milchan is testifying in the so-called Case 1000, one of three cases being tried against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he is accused of accepting gifts from Milchan and Australian billionaire businessman James Packer.

Sara Netanyahu flew to Brighton to be present in the courtroom during the testimony. Meanwhile, when the prime minister walked into the courtroom in Jerusalem, Milchan greeted him via the video link – calling out “Hello, Bibi,” calling the Israeli leader by his nickname.

Milchan testified that he met frequently with Netanyahu over the years. “We were good friends. We talked about history, economy and other things,” he said. He called the prime minister “accessible and approachable.”

Netanyahu arrives in the Jerusalem District Court for Arnon Milchan’s testimony in his corruption trial
(Photo: AP)

Milchan also revealed that other than Netanyahu, he was also close to former prime ministers Shimon Peres and Ariel Sharon, “as part of my behind-the-scenes efforts to achieve peace with the Palestinians. I won’t go into detail beyond that.”

When Milchan was asked by Liat Ben-Ari, the lead prosecutor in Case 1000: “Did you give the defendant and his wife cigars and champagne,” he answered in the affirmative. He was also asked if he gave them jewelry, and replied “I think so.”

Milchan said the last time he spoke with Netanyahu was in 2021, when he released his attorney Boaz Ben-Tzur so that he could represent Netanyahu in Case 4000, in which the Likud party chairman is accused of trading favors with a powerful media mogul. Netanyahu called Milchan to thank him, he said.

Arnon Milchan arrives in court in Brighton, UK for his testimony in Netanyahu’s corruption trial

Milchan detailed how the arrangement between him and the Netanyahus worked regarding the gifts. “Sometimes it was my initiative, when I would come to visit and I would bring rosés (champagne) and leaves (cigars), and in other cases, Bibi would ask, ‘Are there any leaves at home?’ We always had stock at home, and in most cases, it went to the prime minister and his wife. I would bring them to them,” he said.

“I had rosés automatically, he didn’t have to ask. It started with requests and became a routine.” He added: “The relations with them were so comfortable that there was no feeling of offense, at least as far as I was concerned. Over time, the quantities grew, at the request of the recipients.” He also noted that there is a difference between requests and demands.

As reported by Ynetnews