JNN 01 Dec 2013 Los Angles : The Hollywood producer behind such box office hits as Fight Club, Pretty Woman and LA Confidential has spoken about his former activities as an Israeli secret agent and arms dealer, confirming claims made earlier in an unauthorized biography.
Arnon Milchan gave a lengthy interview to the Israeli documentary program Uvda, broadcast on Monday.
According to Milchan, he was recruited to the Bureau of Scientific Relations – known by its Hebrew acronym, Lakam – by Shimon Peres in the 1960s.
Arnon Milchan has confirmed that he helped Israel develop its nuclear weapons program as a spy, according to the investigative television program Uvda on the Israeli Channel 2.
The book “Confidential” details Milchan’s double life as a hotshot and Israeli intelligence operative, which the multi-billionaire never discussed on the record.
Milchan reportedly told interviewer Ilana Dayan that he set up bank accounts and companies to acquire material and equipment for Israel’s secretive LAKAM economic espionage unit.
The body worked to obtain technical and scientific information for secret defense programs, according to the Guardian. It was closed in 1987.
Peres, who has been Israel’s president since 2007, admitted recruiting Milchan as an agent.
“Arnon is a special man. It was I who recruited him … when I was at the ministry of defense, Arnon was involved in numerous defense-related procurement activities and intelligence operations,” he said, according to the Guardian.
He reportedly operated 30 companies in 17 different countries at the peak of his spying activity.
“Do you know what it was like to be a 20-something guy whose country decided to let him be James Bond? Wow! The action! That was exciting,” Milchan, who was born in 1944 in Palestine before Israel occupation, told Dayan.
In the 70s, Milchan brokered deals for hundreds of millions of dollars between Israel and US companies for helicopters, missiles, and other equipment.
Milchan, who is good friends with current Israeli President Shimon Peres, told Uvda that he then helped Israel obtain key nuclear equipment and information while Peres built the Dimona nuclear reactor as Director-General of the Ministry of Defense.
Milchan’s company, Heli Trading Co., brokered the shipment of 800 krytons — sophisticated triggers for nuclear weapons — from the California company MILCO International Inc. to the Israeli Ministry of Defense between 1979 and 1983.
In 1985, the US indicted MILCO President Kelly Smyth on 30 counts of smuggling and making false statements.
Milchan, 68, is now the chairman of New Regency Productions, which has produced more than 120 Hollywood movies since the 1970s.
However, Milchan said it was a challenge to overcome his reputation as an arms dealer. “In Hollywood, they don’t like working with an arms dealer, ideologically … with someone who lives off selling machine guns and killing. Instead of someone talking to me about a script, I had to spend half an hour explaining that I’m not an arms dealer. If people knew how many times I risked my life, back and forth, again and again, for my country.”
During the program Milchan said: “Do you know what it’s like to be a 20-something-year-old kid [and] his country lets him be James Bond? Wow! The action! That was exciting.”
According to the investigative journalist who made the program, Ilana Dayan, Milchan has no reservations about his role as an Israeli secret agent and arms dealer.
“He made up his mind that he wanted to speak out about he did for the state of Israel – even if he pays a cost in Hollywood, he wants recognition here in Israel,” she told the Guardian.
Milchan is a multi-billionaire Hollywood film producer who has produced over 120 full-length motion pictures.
Milchan’s films include The War of the Roses, Once Upon a Time in America, Pretty Woman, Natural Born Killers, Under Siege, The Devil’s Advocate, The Fountain, Unfaithful, L.A. Confidential and many others.