An Australian billionaire could be the unlikely missing link connecting Israel’s prime minister, Donald Trump’s new pick for Treasury Secretary, and pop superstar Mariah Carey.
James Packer, the Sydney-based media mogul, now embroiled in an alleged scandal case involving Prime Minister Netanyahu and his son Yair, was also a business partner of Steven Mnuchin, who was tapped Wednesday to serve on Trump’s cabinet.
Packer and Mnuchin had merged their entertainment businesses three years ago and the joint company produced some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters including “Gravity,” “Mad Max” and “Batman v Superman.”
At the same time, Packer also became close to Israel’s Netanyahu. He purchased a house next to the Netanyahu family’s private residency in Caesarea and began spending time with the prime minister, his wife and children. According to press reports from the past week, Israeli police had recently looked into allegations that Packer showered gifts on Netanyahu and his family, including hosting the prime minister’s son Yair on his private jet and in luxury hotel suites.
Adding some more stardust to this power-triangle is Mariah Carey, Packer’s ex-girlfriend. One of the gifts Packer generously gave Netanyahu and his wife Sarah were a set of tickets to Carey’s show in Israel. Just in case the Israeli prime minister couldn’t put his hands on a couple of tickets without help.
Nathan Guttman staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Contact Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @nathanguttman