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Israeli opposition chief says Netanyahu tried to get him to again tax breaks for Hollywood mogul

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JERUSALEM — Israel’s opposition chief testified Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently tried to steer him — twice — to again laws that might have given a Hollywood mogul thousands and thousands in tax breaks.

However Yair Lapid, a former prime minister himself and a serious Netanyahu rival, mentioned he was not satisfied.

Lapid made the statements as he testified in Jerusalem in one in every of three corruption {cases} towards Netanyahu. The indictment claims Netanyahu used his place of energy to additional Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan’s pursuits in exhange for items, representing a battle between the premier’s public duties and private friendship.

Netanyahu did private favors for Milchan, together with asking U.S. officers to increase Milchan’s U.S. resident’s allow and increasing Israeli rules exempting Israeli returnees from declaring overseas revenue, in keeping with the indictment.

Lapid testified Monday that Milchan and his attorneys had tried first with out success to steer him that extending the tax breaks for a decade can be good for Israel, Israeli media reported. Then Netanyahu broached the matter twice with Lapid, he testified — as soon as on the prime minister’s residence and as soon as outdoors a Cupboard assembly, in keeping with the reviews.

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Lapid mentioned he informed Netanyahu that it wasn’t going to occur, and the prime minister responded that it was “a very good regulation.”

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving chief, denies claims of wrongdoing, saying he was not appearing in Milchan’s private pursuits and even often acted towards them. He says the exchanges of items have been simply pleasant gestures.

Milchan is predicted to testify within the case in a video name from London, the place he resides, someday later this month.

Haaretz newspaper has reported that in 2013 Lapid, then finance minister, sought authorized recommendation on the opportunity of selling the laws that might have benefitted Milchan. Earlier, Lapid had reportedly mentioned he replied, “no manner,” to Netanyahu and Milchan in regards to the prospects for the laws.

Netanyahu is charged with fraud, breach of belief and accepting bribes in three separate scandals involving highly effective media moguls and rich associates. He denies wrongdoing.

Critics say that Netanyahu is pushed to weaken the courts and alter the judicial system as a method to open an escape route from his trial, claims he dismisses as unfaithful.

The corruption fees even have been on the middle of a protracted political disaster that despatched Israelis to the polls 5 occasions in lower than 4 years — every vote primarily a referendum on Netanyahu’s health to rule. After dropping energy in 2021 to a coalition of opponents, Netanyahu returned as prime minister late final yr, regardless of his authorized issues. Beneath Israeli regulation, the prime minister has no obligation to step apart whereas on trial.

The trial, which started in Might 2020, has featured greater than 40 prosecution witnesses, together with a few of Netanyahu’s closest former confidants who turned towards the premier. Witness accounts have shed mild not solely on the three {cases} but in addition revealed sensational particulars about Netanyahu’s character and his household’s repute for dwelling off the largesse of taxpayers and rich supporters.


Kellman reported from Tel Aviv, Israel.

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