US keeping Netanyahu stock portfolio information from Israel: Report
Israeli law enforcement officials have been unable to gain information they requested from their US counterparts regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trading of shares in a company owned by his cousin, according to local media.
The request was made several months ago, but US authorities are still to provide the information, which is supposed to help Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit decide if a criminal investigation should be opened.
A source familiar with the request told Haaretz: “There is no evidence that the delay in receiving answers is politically motivated, but it is certainly exceptional and makes one wonder.”
The inquiries relate to Netanyahu’s sale of the shares in SeaDrift, a Texas-based company making products for the steel industry, which was owned by his cousin, Nathan Milikowsky.
Documents submitted to the State Comptroller’s Office show Netanyahu earned millions of dollars from the sale in 2010.
According to a source familiar with the case: “The answers from the United States are meant to help Mendelblit understand whether in the story of the purchase and sale of the shares there’s a suspicion of criminal violations by Netanyahu, or whether the issue doesn’t warrant an investigation.”
Milikowsky transferred the shares in SeaDrift to Netanyahu for $600,000 in 2007, when he was head of the opposition.
The shares were then sold to GrafTech International in 2010 at a huge profit, as evidenced by documents that Netanyahu himself gave to the state comptroller through his lawyer, David Shimron.
Netanyahu is now on trial in three separate cases involving bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
The Trump administration has previously prevented Israeli authorities from taking testimony from former Secretary of State John Kerry and former US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro regarding one of the cases, a lavish gifts case known as Case 1000.
Netanyahu allegedly asked Kerry and Shapiro to extend a visa for tycoon Arnon Milchan, who gave Netanyahu thousands of dollars worth of benefits and gifts, including expensive cigars and champagne.