Israel’s fourth submarine is en route to the navy's Haifa base from Germany.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attorney David Shimron and another lawyer who is a close confidant of the premier were questioned by Lahav 433, the National Crime Unit, for a second day on Monday as part of the so-called “submarines affair” investigation.
According to media reports, Netanyahu’s confidant, who was questioned regarding his involvement in what police call “Case 3000” – the corruption investigation into Israel’s purchase of German-made naval vessels – may be suspected of breach of trust.
The confidant reportedly was involved in advancing the submarine deal, and, despite the fact that he was not a government official, was deeply involved in Israel’s diplomacy in recent year.
A police gag order on the identity of the confidant was expected to expire Tuesday morning.
Channel 2 News reported that he rejects any connection to the probe.
“I have no part in the ‘submarines affair.’ Everything I did throughout the years was purely for the good of the country,” he was quoted as saying.
“I wasn’t involved in any way in the purchases that are being investigated,” he added.
It also was reported that police believe the confidant’s role in the case is minor compared to that of Shimron.
The latest round of questioning comes after police finished the interrogation of state witness Miki Ganor in September
Ganor, formerly the representative for German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp in Israel, became a state witness in the “submarines affair” in late July.
During the questioning on Monday, Shimron and the confidant were reportedly confronted with information from Ganor’s testimony and possibly with Ganor himself.
Ganor’s testimony focused on deals he conducted with the Defense Ministry, but its details are under a gag order. It was reported that a senior police figure said Ganor provided “great material” for the investigation.
Ganor was detained in the first round of questioning, along with former National Security Council deputy head Avriel Bar-Yosef.
In September, police interrogated Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, David Sharan, and former minister Eliezer “Modi” Zandberg in the second round of questioning.
The prime minister himself is not a suspect in Case 3000.
However, it was reported by Channel 2 News on Sunday that he would be summoned for questioning upon his return from his diplomatic trip to London.
Netanyahu is involved in two other police investigations: Case 1000 (“the gifts affair”), in which it is suspected that he received expensive gifts from different businessmen, and Case 2000 (“the Israel Hayom
affair”), in which he allegedly negotiated with publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes for favorable coverage of himself in the newspaper Yediot Aharonot
in exchange for his support of a bill to weaken Israel Hayom
, the largest circulation Hebrew-language newspaper and Yediot
’s bitter competitor.
In August, the court revealed that Netanyahu is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in those two cases.
A senior source close to Netanyahu responded to the questioning of Shimron and the confidant on Sunday saying: “My suggestion to the media is to take three lemons, make a juice out of them and drink it all at once. It will wipe out their wicked smile. Netanyahu has nothing to do with this investigation.”