JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yair Netanyahu has sued a driver who made recordings in his limousine during which the prime minister’s son disparaged women and discussed a national gas deal.
Yair Netanyahu, 26, was apparently drunk and accompanied by a driver and a state-salaried bodyguard when he visited several Tel Aviv clubs with Nir Maimon, son of gas tycoon Kobi Maimon, and Roman Abramov, the Israeli representative of billionaire James Packer, on the night in 2015 that the recordings were made.
Yair Netanyahu on Sunday filed the 1 million shekel, or about $272,000 lawsuit against driver Roi Rozen for defamation, infringement of privacy and breach of statutory duty. The lawsuit claims that Rozen made the tape in order to profit financially from it. It also notes that the recording was an invasion of his privacy and that had no right to record him since he was not taking part in the conversation.
Among the statements Netanyahu made that were captured on audiotape: “Bro, you have to spot me. My dad made an awesome deal for your dad, bro. He fought, fought in the Knesset for this, bro” and “Bro, my dad just got you a $20 billion deal and you can’t spot me 400 shekels?” (about $116, to get into a strip club) – both referring to the $20 billion deal for Kobi Maimon to develop gas fields off Israel’s Mediterranean coast. He also said: “If you want, I’ll fix you up with [Yair’s girlfriend at the time]. I have to fix her up with everyone, I’m paying off my debts,” implying that he was pimping her out.
Yair Netanyahu responded to the recordings when they were broadcast publicly in January saying that “under the influence of alcohol, I spoke nonsense about women and other things that were better left unsaid.”
“These remarks do not reflect who I am, the values on which I was raised and my beliefs. I regret the remarks and apologize if anyone was hurt by them. In addition, the things I said to Maimon were a dumb joke and joking around with him, as anyone could tell. I never took an interest in the natural-gas framework agreement and never had any idea about its details,” the statement said.