Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his son Yair. Picture: AFP PHOTO / GIL COHEN-MAGEN
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his son Yair. Picture: AFP PHOTO / GIL COHEN-MAGEN

Tel Aviv — Israeli television broadcast a 2015 recording in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son is heard bantering with the son of a shareholder in a gas company that won offshore drilling rights from the government, and asking him for money to pay a stripper.

Yair Netanyahu was recorded while cruising between strip clubs in downtown Tel Aviv in a government-supplied armoured car with one of the sons of Isramco Negev 2 LP shareholder Jackob Maimon, according to Hadashot TV news. Along with them was another friend, a secret service agent and a driver.

Amid raunchy jokes about a night of drinking at the adult clubs, the younger Netanyahu can be heard complaining that the friend will not lend him money to pay a dancer even though his father benefited from the lucrative gas business with the government.

"Bro, my dad arranged a $20bn deal and you can’t spot me 400 shekels ($116)?" Yair Netanyahu says. The conversation was in Hebrew.

As police have been conducting an investigation for more than a year into corruption allegations against the prime minister, his 26-year-old son has been criticised for leading an expensive lifestyle supported by taxpayers — particularly for being given a security detail and the use of government cars.

Hadashot, which bleeped out many comments in its Monday night report, said it had rejected efforts to stop the audio recording from being broadcast.

It quoted a statement from the Netanyahu family calling the story, "cheap, vicious gossip", and saying the recordings were part of a "witch hunt" to bring down the prime minister.

The prime minister’s office did not respond to a request for comment. But late on Monday night, Yair Netanyahu issued an apology, saying his remarks had been made under the influence of alcohol and did not represent the values under which he was raised, according to the Ynet news website.

Isramco is one of the partners that bought drilling rights from the government to the Tamar gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast.

The company did not immediately respond to a telephone call seeking comment after business hours.

Its Houston-based affiliate declined to comment, general counsel Anthony James said by phone.

Bloomberg

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