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Israel

Israeli PM Netanyahu’s son, seeking cash for stripper, brags of US$20billion deal for friend’s father

‘Bro, my dad arranged a US$20 billion deal and you can’t spot me 400 shekels?’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2018, 9:56am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2018, 7:24pm

Israeli television broadcast a 2015 recording in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son is heard bantering with a son of tycoon whose company that won offshore drilling rights from the government and asking him for money to pay a stripper.

Yair Netanyahu was recorded while cruising between strip clubs in downtown Tel Aviv in a government-supplied armoured car with one of the sons of businessman Jackob Maimon, according to Hadashot TV news. Along with them was another friend, a secret-service agent and a driver.

Amid raunchy jokes about a night of drinking at the adult clubs, the younger Netanyahu can be heard complaining that the friend won’t lend him money to pay a dancer even though his father benefited from the lucrative gas business with the government . “Bro, my dad arranged a US$20 billion deal and you can’t spot me 400 shekels” ($116)? Yair Netanyahu says. The conversation was in Hebrew.

As police have been conducting an investigation for more than a year into corruption allegations against the prime minister, his 26-year-old son has been criticised for leading an expensive lifestyle supported by taxpayers – particularly for being given a security detail and the use of government cars.

Hadashot, which bleeped out many comments in its Monday night report, said it had rejected efforts to stop the audio recording from being broadcast. It quoted a statement from the Netanyahu family calling the story, “cheap, vicious gossip,” and saying the recordings were part of a “witch hunt” to bring down the prime minister.

The prime minister’s office did not respond to a request for comment. But late Monday night, Yair Netanyahu issued an apology, saying that his remarks had been made under the influence of alcohol and did not represent the values under which he was raised, according to the Ynet news website.

Maimon’s is one of the partners in Isramco Negev 2 that bought drilling rights from the government to the Tamar gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast. The company didn’t immediately respond to a telephone call seeking comment after business hours. Its Houston-based affiliate, Isramco Inc, declined to comment, general counsel Anthony James said by phone.