Secret Tape Reveals Netanyahu's Son Drunk Outside a Strip Club Bragging About Help for $20 Billion Gas Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and his son Yair visit the Wailing Wall following the victory of his party, Likud, in Israel’s general election, in Jerusalem, on March 18, 2015. Yair Netanyahu was recorded that same year bragging about a $20 billion gas deal. THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was under fire again on Monday as lawyers failed to suppress an embarrassing audiotape in which his son bragged about a $20 billion deal that had benefited a friend's gas tycoon father.

The recording, made in 2015 as Yair Netanyahu was driven between strip clubs in a government car, was published by local media and broadcast on Israeli TV, The Times of Israel reported.

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They captured the moment Netanyahu's son asked friend Ori Maimon, the son of gas mogul Kobi Maimon, to give him $116 because his father, the prime minister, had helped push through antitrust legislation. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Yair Netanyahu wanted the money to pay for a prostitute.

"Bro, you got to spot me. My dad made an awesome deal for your dad, bro, he fought, fought in the Knesset for this, bro," Yair Netanyahu said, referring to the Israeli parliament.

"Bro, my dad now arranged for you a $20 billion deal, and you can't spot me 400 shekels?" he added.

According to the The Guardian the recording was made as Israel was debating the rights to drill offshore natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean. Maimon, a shareholder in Isramco, is also a shareholder in the Tamar gas fields.

Yair Netanyahu, who has gained a reputation in the Israeli press for his off-color remarks, has apologized for the comments, dismissing them as drunken ramblings.

"In that late-night conversation, under the influence of alcohol, I said foolish things about women and other foolish things that would have been better left unsaid," he said. "These words do not represent who I am, the values I was raised on, or the principles I believe in. I regret saying them and apologize if anyone was offended by them."

Yair Netanyahu has, however simultaneously attacked the media over its decision to publish the recording. The Netanyahu family has referred to the recording as being part of a "witch hunt."

The phrase has been a regular refrain from the prime minister's camp as he has sought to dismiss corruption accusations against him.

One investigation into Netanyahu's affairs, known as case 1,000, involves Australian James Packer, a billionaire businessman and investor, and allegations that the Netanyahu family received gifts such as champagne, cigars and jewelry from wealthy connections.

Investigations into whether these were exchanged for favors and investigations into Netanyahu's wife, Sara, have dogged the prime ministership in the past year and could cost him the leadership.

In 2017, Sara Netanyahu was charged with fraud amounting to the equivalent of over $110,000. Among other accusations, she is alleged to have used public funds to throw lavish dinner parties and hire private chefs.