The transcript of Arnaud Mimran’s first interrogation in the case known as “the sting of the century” contradicts prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that the only money he ever received from Mimran was a one-time donation of $40,000 in 2001, reports Haaretz.
A joint investigation by Haaretz and Mediapart has found that Mimran, the chief suspect in the massive fraud case, mentioned Netanyahu in his answer to a question about the key witness, Jeremy Jacques Grinholz, who is hiding in Israel under the name Eithan Liron. According to the transcript, whose contents are being published here for the first time, Mimran replied that he didn’t know exactly what role Grinholz had played in the scam. He then added:
“I met him for the first time in Israel in early 2009. I used to go there a lot back then, because that was during the campaign, and I’m close to Netanyahu, to whom I donated $200,000.”
In other words, in his response, Mimran directly linked his donation to the 2009 election.
A representative of Netanyahu’s responded, “It’s all nonsense. We stand forcefully behind the clear facts: Arnaud Mimran’s only donation, totaling $40,000, was given in 2001 to the public-benefit corporation, as permitted by law, at a time when Mr. Netanyahu was a private citizen.” Netanyahu set up the corporation in question to finance his public activities, primarily public diplomacy efforts on Israel’s behalf.
“The repeated attacks over the Mimran issue, which are meant to obscure the prime minister’s great achievements on behalf of the State of Israel, won’t be of any use,” the statement continued. “Not the previous attack, at the height of his historic visit to Russia, and not the current attack, at the height of his historic visit to Africa.”