Hollywood Producer Milchan Admits Israel Spying

Hollywood Producer Milchan Admits Israel Spying

Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan has confirmed rumours that he led a secret life as an Israeli spy.

The Israeli businessman behind hit films including Pretty Woman, Fight Club and Mr & Mrs Smith has finally admitted that he spent years brokering arms deals and boosting his country's alleged nuclear programme.

In a far-reaching interview with Israeli investigative programme Uvda, Mr Milchan detailed a series of clandestine affairs worthy of any of his blockbuster films, including how he helped purchase technologies Israel allegedly needed to operate nuclear bombs.

"I did it for my country and I'm proud of it," said Mr Milchan, who ran a successful fertiliser company in Israel before making it big in Hollywood.

Even as his career in movies flourished, he maintained close ties with Israel's leadership.

According to an unauthorised biography published two years ago, Mr Milchan worked for Israel's now-defunct Bureau of Scientific Relations, known as Lekem, which worked to obtain information for secret defence programmes.

The bureau was disbanded in 1987 after it was implicated in a spying affair for which Jonathan Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy, was sentenced to life in prison.

Mr Milchan also claimed other big Hollywood names were connected to his covert affairs.

He said: "When I came to Hollywood I detached myself completely from my physical activities to dedicate myself to what I really wanted - filmmaking. (But) sometimes it gets mixed up."

The 68-year-old founded the New Regency film company and has produced more than 120 movies since the 1970s, working closely with directors such as Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, Sergio Leone and Oliver Stone.

He forged an especially close relationship with Robert De Niro, who along with actors Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck, was featured in Uvda's broadcast.

"I had heard, but I wasn't sure," De Niro said, of Mr Milchan's activities.

"I did ask him once and he told me that he was an Israeli and of course he would do these things for his country."