Taped remarks by Israeli PM's son add controversy to corruption scandal

By Sara Shayanian  |  Jan. 9, 2018 at 8:27 AM
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Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Israeli television has aired an audio recording on which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son is purportedly heard suggesting that his father helped pushed through a business deal worth billions.

The recording was made two years ago as Yair Netanyahu and friends were driven to multiple nightclubs and protected by government-provided security.

Another voice on the recording is said to belong to Ori Maimon, this son of gas tycoon Kobi Maimon -- a shareholder in Isramco, a company that owns Israel's Tamar gas fields.

Netanyahu and Maimon are heard on tape arguing in Hebrew about money as they exit one club, with the prime minister's son saying, "My dad now arranged for you a $20 billion deal."

According to Bloomberg, the remarks were made as Netanyahu asked for money to tip a dancer.

The recording was made during a political controversy in 2015 over newly discovered natural gas deposits and the rights to drill into them.

The remarks by Yair Netanyahu, 26, now adds fuel to a fire at a time when the prime minister is the subject of two corruption investigations.

The Netanyahu family responded by calling the story "cheap, vicious gossip."

"Your witch-hunt has reached a new and unprecedented low with the broadcast of a secret tape of things that were said jokingly two and a half years ago, between young people drinking alcohol," the statement said.

Yair Netanyahu issued an apology, saying his remarks were made while he was drinking and did not represent his values.

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