PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu – if they go to trial, how will his corruption trials end?.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Attorney-General’s Office confirmed on Thursday that it has opened an initial review of a possible new connection between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Case 3000, also known as “The Submarine Affair.”
The case involves allegations that top government and defense officials abused their power to skim off large sums of money from transactions between Israel and the German company Thyssenkrupp for the purchase of nuclear submarines.
In November the police concluded their years-long investigation of the case, recommending bribery indictments against several of the prime minister’s close associates, but without ever having treated Netanyahu himself as a suspect.
However, in February the State Comptroller indirectly revealed a new potential piece to Case 3000 that the police had not investigated.
In explaining its decision to reject Netanyahu’s request to finance his legal defense of public corruption charges from donations from his cousin – tycoon Natan Milikovsky – the comptroller disclosed that the prime minister and Milikovsky had joint business interests up until 2009, including throughout Netanyahu’s early months as prime minister.
The comptroller also connected Milikovsky indirectly to Thyssenkrupp and to David Shimron, one of the primary suspects in Case 3000 and Netanyahu’s cousin and former top aide.
On Wednesday night, Channel 13 said that it had uncovered evidence that up until 2010, Netanyahu and Milikovsky each owned shares in GrafTech International, a company that provided services to Thyssenkrupp.
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit is now reviewing whether their indirect connection to Thyssenkrupp could be related to the broader bribery scheme of Case 3000.
Though the prime minister is still not a suspect in Case 3000, his spokesman issued a statement attacking the comptroller and the media for mentioning the 10-year-old business interests of Netanyahu and Milikovsky.
The statement called them irrelevant and deemed media reports trying to connect dots between Netanyahu and Case 3000 to be “fake news.”
Further, Netanyahu added that when he sold his shares in 2010, the sale was reported and approved according to law.
According to Channel 13 on Thursday night, Netanyahu received $4,300,873 in the sale of his shares.
Many of the developments mentioned in the police’s public statements about Case 3000 related to the year 2012 or the years 2013-2016, however some dated back to 2009.
It is unclear what connection there might be, but the fact that Mandelblit’s office is not brushing off the information means that it had not yet been previously checked.
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