Written by: euronews with ap
On Monday, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid testifies before the Central Court in occupied East Jerusalem in the corruption cases in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being tried.
Lapid is an important witness in what is known as “File 1000”, in which the prime minister is accused of fraud and breach of trust as a result of receiving luxurious gifts of cigars, champagne and jewelry worth 700,000 shekels (180,000 euros) between 2007 and 2016 from wealthy people in exchange for financial or personal favors, including Among them is the Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.
Lapid, who at that time assumed the portfolio of Finance Minister, will testify about the relationship between Milchan and Netanyahu, when he refused Netanyahu’s request twice to extend the validity of the tax exemptions law for returnees from abroad, with the aim of granting privileges to his two friends Milchan and James Packer.
For his part, Netanyahu claims that he only accepted gifts from his friends without asking for them.
His lawyers said in October 2019 that they had received an expert legal opinion concluding that he had the right to accept gifts from close friends.
The centrist Lapid served as finance minister in Netanyahu’s government when a bill benefiting Milchan was debated in 2013 and 2014.
It is suspected that the prime minister, in return, promoted a tax project that would have saved his friend millions of dollars, but the finance minister opposed the project.
Netanyahu’s trial began in May 2020, the first in Israel for a sitting prime minister. He denies the charges and says he is the victim of a politically motivated campaign.
Benjamin Netanyahu, along with his allies from the far-right and far-right parties, won the November 2022 elections.