Hadas Klein, final witness in ex-corruption case Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu It may have come from the central casting.
In two days of fascinating testimony, 57-year-old Klein—thin, expressive and confident, and dressed in a neat carré—experienced exactly what it was: a top-notch executive assistant who had witnessed extraordinary events.
In the middle of Wednesday’s reading, his testimony took the form of a mob court case. Klein, an aide to Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and a close friend of Netanyahu for the past three decades, was describing his efforts to conceal the identity of the person who took advantage of the purchases he made from a Tony’s owner, ‘Cookie’. Cigar boutique in the upscale Tel Aviv suburb of Herzliya.
“Cookie – that’s her name” wanted to know who was enjoying the Cuban cigars she bought from him for about $27,328 a year.
“I was paying for everything on my personal credit card because I was trying to protect Netanyahu. I didn’t want to put it on Arnon’s credit card to protect him. Cookies didn’t give us any discounts but he would give us Dominican cigars as a gift… I accepted them and asked Arnon about it, and ‘ Sure, why not?’ He said. And of course, nothing was left with us. We passed the gifts to Mr. Netanyahu, too.”
Cookie press games. “Cookie told me that only a very small group in the country consumes cigars of this length and diameter, so who is it?”
Two Monte Christo cigars cost $630. Netanyahu said he enjoyed popping them into Cointreau before smoking.
But Klein brought more than his memories. A meticulous record keeper handed all receipts, invoices and wire transfers and more related to these purchases to the investigators and the court. Text messages about acquisitions and their disposal were brutally projected onto the screen in Judge Rivka Feldman-Freidman’s small courtroom.
Klein center gear A full-blown “well-organized mechanism” for illegal solicitations of Netanyahu’s wealthy “friends” and the distribution of “gifts” that Israeli prosecutors believe constitute corruption.
Like Cassidy Hutchinson, Klein witnessed the most candid acts of the Netanyahus. Like Hutchinson, he was overlooked by figures in power. And like Hutchinson, he framed his statement as an act of patriotism.
“I am fulfilling my obligations as a citizen of this country,” he told reporters in the hallway, surrounded by police guards. “I’ve been asked to testify and that’s what I’m doing. I’m doing what would make my family proud.”
During his testimony, which included unflattering depictions of Milchan, Klein was worried about the possibility of losing his job.
Klein differs from previous famous witnesses in Netanyahu’s case in three separate criminal cases involving allegations that he was facing charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and that he had abused his position for personal gain in one form or another. .
Both Nir Hefetz, the one-time head of Netanyahu’s eerie communications store, and Shlomo Filber, the former director-general of the Israeli communications ministry under the Netanyahu administration, were riveted but reluctant witnesses who testified on behalf of the state only as part of defense deals they hoped would hold them back. from criminal prosecution.
Hefetz, “in everything related to the media, [Netanyahu] more than just a control freak… Netanyahu spends as much time on the media as he spends on security issues.”
Echoing Netanyahu, Filber described the trial as a “witch hunt” and reluctantly taking direct orders described The prime minister demanding a “loosening” of regulations for Shaul Elovitch, the head of Israel’s largest communications conglomerate, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
“The cigars were for Netanyahu.“
Conversely, Klein voluntarily testified, even with what seemed like relief, and was not suspected of any crime.
He described the repeated calls he made to Netanyahu’s cell phone, claiming he had “legal counsel” authorization to stream the gifts he asked for his wife. “You don’t understand,” said the Prime Minister to his friend’s assistant. “Only the media is upset that he’s slaughtering. Give him whatever he wants. They’re all allowed, I checked. Don’t spill his blood like the media does.”
Klein described a gigantic staff device in which the Netanyahus confiscated an unrestricted flow of luxury goods from Milchan, grumbling about it to Klein, “We have no choice. There is no other way with them” and Packer, who he describes as a vulnerable Netanyahu group.
Milchan, he said, “enjoyed intimacy with power. He liked being able to say he was friends with the Prime Minister”, but was an unhappy participant in the scheme that involved hiding pink Dom Perignon champagne boxes in coolers.
In March 2016, when Klein returned home from a private trip to Cuba for his 50th birthday celebration, he remembered that an enraged Netanyahu had allegedly procured Cohiba 54 cigars for him and not his favourites, the Cohiba 56s. . “You can’t take them anywhere,” he said. “There just wasn’t any.”
Klein claimed that Netanyahu had spoken to her in code, describing the cigars as “leaves” and the champagne as “pink,” but being direct and clear on other requests. Sara Netanyahu’s request for an exclusive gold ring and necklace from a trendy Tel Aviv jeweler was forwarded to Klein following a conference call, where Milchan, who is expected to testify later at the hearing, received express authorization from the prime minister.
Klein’s expression was filled with details and goosebumps pearls. Unlike Netanyahu, Israel’s current interim prime minister – Netanyahu’s rival in the 2022 election – told Yair Lapid that he refused to deliver a bouquet that Milchan had sent when he was appointed finance minister in 2013. Headset at Lapid’s home, “Arnon told me to tell him to leave them there. Yair called and said ‘No way’. Send the driver to get it.”
He cited memories of the time Hugh Jackman allegedly met with Netanyahu, which became another opportunity for the prime minister to smoke a cigar. Judge Moshe Baram, a member of the three-judge panel that heard the case, asked Klein how he knew “cigars are not for the player”.
“Because I was there. The cigars were for Netanyahu,” Klein said.
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