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Updated: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 15:22:08 GMT | By The Associated Press, cbc.ca

Arnon Milchan, Pretty Woman, Fight Club producer, was Israeli spy



Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan has admitted on Israeli television that he spied for the Israeli state for years, buying arms and helping to boost the country's nuclear program, the existence of which it has long denied. Matt Sayles/Associated Press

Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan has admitted on Israeli television that he spied for the Israeli state for years, buying arms and helping to boost the country's nuclear program, the existence of which it has long denied. Matt Sayles/Associated Press

Stories about Hollywood producer ArnonMilchan's alleged double life have been circulating for years.

Now, the Israeli businessman behind hits like Pretty Woman, Fight Club and L.A. Confidential has finally come forth with a stunning admission — for years, he served as an Israeli spy, buying arms on its behalf and boosting its alleged nuclear program.

In a far-reaching interview aired Monday with Israel's Channel 2 TV's flagship investigative program Uvda, Milchan detailed a series of clandestine affairs in which he was involved and particularly 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 Milchan, who ran a successful fertilizer company in Israel before making it big in Hollywood.

Even there, he says he continued with his clandestine work while maintaining close ties with Israel's leadership.

Worked for secret defence program

According to an unauthorized biography published two years ago, Milchan worked for Israel's now-defunct Bureau of Scientific Relations, known as Lekem, which worked to obtain information for secret defence programs. The bureau was disbanded in 1987 after it was implicated in the spying affair for which Jonathan Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, was sentenced to life in prison.

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

"When I came to Hollywood, I detached myself completely from my physical activities to dedicate myself to what I really wanted — filmmaking," he said. "[But] sometimes, it gets mixed up."

The 68-year-old Milchan 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, is featured in Uvda's broadcast.

"I had heard, but I wasn't sure," De Niro said of 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."

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