In Brief: Lapid testifies against Netanyahu in latest corruption trial

Benjamin Netanyahu > World Economic Forum / Manuel Lopez, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Israel’s leader of the opposition and former prime minister, Yair Lapid, testified in court today at the corruption trial of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu about his interaction with the prime minister in 2013, when he served under Netanyahu as finance minister.

Lapid’s opening statement reiterated what he has previously told police investigating Case 1000, in which Netanyahu is accused of attempting to grant a tax break in exchange for lavish gifts from Hollywood billionaire Arnon Milchan.

Lapid claimed that there were “two occasions” when Netanyahu asked him about the situation in regard to Milchan.

He added that Netanyahu asked him “Did Milchan speak to you about the law?” and that he replied to the prime minister “Yes, but I don’t think it’ll happen.”

Lapid said that at the time Netanyahu replied to him offhandedly that it was a “good law.”

Netanyahu’s questions allegedly followed Milchan and his lawyer approaching Lapid and requesting that he look into “extending by another 10 years” the law that grants temporary tax immunity to returning Israelis who have spent time abroad.

Prosecutors accuse Netanyahu of seeking to pressure Lapid to extend by a further decade an existing 10-year tax exemption for returning Israelis on income earned abroad — which could have saved Milchan millions of dollars.

Case 1000 centers around the claim that Milchan — a famed producer and Academy Award nominee — gifted the Netanyahu family cigars, champagne and jewelry in exchange for the prime minister’s attempts to aid him with his tax situation as well as with his efforts to attain a long-term US visa.