Yair Netanyahu’s former driver pays to settle lawsuit by prime minister’s son

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The former driver of Yair Netanyahu will pay about $8,500 to settle a lawsuit by the prime minister’s son against the driver for recording conversations in the limousine.

The driver, Roi Rozen, who sold the recordings to Israel’s Channel 12, which aired them, also is required to publicly apologize.

Under Israeli law, it is legal for one person to record a conversation between that person and one other person even if the second person does not know, but it is illegal for a third party to record the conversation.

Yair Netanyahu, 27, 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.

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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.

Netanyahu filed a $272,000 lawsuit against Rozen for defamation, infringement of privacy and breach of statutory duty. The lawsuit claimed that Rozen made the tape in order to profit financially from it.