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Hollywood producer Milchan confirms he was Israeli spy

AFP

Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, who made hits such as Pretty Woman, L.A. Confidential and Fight Club, confirmed on Monday longstanding rumours that he worked as a spy for Israel, buying arms on its behalf and boosting its alleged nuclear programme.

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The Hollywood producer behind thrillers “Fight Club” and “L.A. Confidential” knows something about keeping dangerous secrets himself. Film tycoon Arnon Milchan has confirmed he once bought alleged nuclear technology while working as an Israeli spy.

“I did it for my country and I am proud of it,” Milchan told Israeli’s investigative television programme in an interview aired on Monday.

Rumours about the billionaire producer’s double-life as a spy have been circulating for years, but he had not directly acknowledged them until this week.

In a 2011 unauthorised biography, authors Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman revealed that Milchan was an agent for Israel’s top-secret Lekem intelligence group until the mid-1980s.

His work, which included running front companies for Israel’s intelligence services and purchasing components to build and maintain the country’s nuclear arsenal, began in Israel and followed him, at least in part, to Hollywood.

“When I came to Hollywood I detached myself completely from my physical activities to dedicate myself to what I really wanted: filmmaking,'' he told Israel’s Channel 2. “(But) sometimes it gets mixed up.''

The producer, who made blockbusters “Pretty Woman”, “Heat” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” also said other big Hollywood names were connected to his clandestine affairs.

Milchan’s name was first linked to Israeli spying as far back as 1985, when aerospace executive Richard Kelly Smyth was indicted for illegally smuggling nuclear arms “triggers” out of the United States.

Smyth, who eluded US prosecutors for 15 years, had shipped the devices to Israel via one of Milchan’s companies.

Israel’s Lekem agency was disbanded in 1987 after it was connected to the spying scandal for which civilian intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life in prison.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

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