Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan says he spied for Israel

Arnon Milchan appeared in Los Angeles, California, on 18 September 2008  Arnon Milchan, shown in a September 2008 file photo, said he had long had to beat back Hollywood rumours he was an arms dealer

A Hollywood producer behind hit films such as Pretty Woman and Fight Club has said he spied for Israel in support of its nuclear programme.

Arnon Milchan, who was born in what is now Israel, gave an account to Israeli investigative programme Uvda.

Mr Milchan said he performed dozens of clandestine missions on behalf of Israel after he was recruited by Shimon Peres, now Israel's president.

"I did it for my country and I'm proud of it," he said.

'Risked my life'

Start Quote

Instead of someone talking to me about a script, I had to spend half an hour explaining that I'm not an arms dealer”

End Quote Arnon Milchan Hollywood producer

Mr Milchan, 68, said he was recruited to Israel's Bureau of Scientific Relations, a secretive organisation founded to supply the nation's nuclear programme, in the 1960s by Mr Peres.

Then the owner of a successful fertiliser company, Mr Milchan said he aided the bureau in obtaining scientific and technical information for confidential defence programmes.

At one point, Uvda alleges, Mr Milchan was operating 30 companies in 17 countries on behalf of Israel.

His activities continued after he became a high-profile Hollywood producer, rising to chairman of film company New Regency.

He produced such hits as Mr and Mrs Smith and LA Confidential, and worked with famed directors including Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski and Oliver Stone.

During the interview, which aired on Monday, Mr Milchan also said Academy Award-winning director Sydney Pollack helped in covert acquisitions of sensitive military equipment.

Pollack died in 2008.

Mr Milchan told Uvda that rumours of his own involvement with Israel had swirled around Hollywood for years and he wished he had addressed them head on.

"In Hollywood, they don't like working with an arms dealer, ideologically... with someone who lives off selling machine guns and killing," he said. "Instead of someone talking to me about a script, I had to spend half an hour explaining that I'm not an arms dealer.

"I'm not an arms dealer, I don't sell guns, I don't sell rockets," he added. "If people knew how many times I risked my life, back and forth, again and again, for my country."

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