'L.A. Confidential' Producer Arnon Milchan Cited in Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu Indictment

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Arnon Milchan

Netanyahu is accused of making several attempts to help Milchan's business interests in exchange for around $200,000 worth of gifts.

Hollywood producer and head of Regency Enterprises Arnon Milchan has been named in the indictment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Thursday's indictment saw Netanyahu charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust by Israel’s attorney general Avichai Mandelblit, the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been charged with a crime.

In one of the three cases against Netanyahu, he is accused of receiving a "supply line of gifts" from Milchan, who earned Oscar nominations for L.A. Confidential and The Revenant, alongside Australian billionaire James Packer, in exchange for favors from the prime minister.

Milchan and Packer gave Netanyahu and his wife almost 700,000 shekels (around $200,000) worth of gifts, mainly consisting of cigars and champagne.

Between October 2011 and December 2016, Netanyahu allegedly tried to help Milchan’s business interests, according to the indictment. On two occasions he lobbied U.S. officials to get Milchan a visa. In another incident he appealed to then-finance minister Yair Lapid to extend income tax breaks to the producer. The indictment also claims that in Netanyahu’s capacity as minister of communications, the prime minister tried to help push through a merger beneficial to Milchan.

“With these actions, the defendant Netanyahu carried out acts of breach of trust that gravely hurt public trust and clean conduct,” the indictment said.

Netanyahu has previously denied all the allegations, claiming that they are part of a politically orchestrated “witch hunt” to remove him from office.

News of the indictment came just days after the U.S. broke with international law to declare that Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land were not necessarily illegal in its eyes. The dramatic decision, which faced condemnation from across the Middle East and beyond, marked the reversal of the U.S. legal position on the issue since 1978 and a rejection of a 2016 U.N. security council resolution that settlements on the West Bank represent a “flagrant violation” of international law.