Court extends detention of key witness in submarine affair

Miki Ganor, who testified in Case 3000, may loose partial immunity if he changes his testimony.

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March 20, 2019 23:49
2 minute read.
Court extends detention of key witness in submarine affair

MIKI GANOR, ThyssenKrupp’s representative in Israel, waits at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

 
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The Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court approved a police request on Wednesday to keep Miki Ganor detained until at least Sunday, to investigate his change of heart to be a state’s witness – which could unravel Case 3000, the submarine affair.
 
Police said late Tuesday that they may scrap Ganor’s partial immunity agreement because of the changes he wants to make to his testimony.
 
Ganor is the former sales representative of Thyssenkrupp Israel, a German company involved with selling nuclear submarines to Israel.
 
Until now, he was signed onto a deal to testify for the prosecution in exchange for only having to serve one year in prison and an NIS 10 million fine, which would leave significant other funds leftover for his use.
 
While working with the police as a state’s witness, Ganor had admitted to having a major role in perpetrating a bribery and fraud scheme in which he and top officials close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the defense establishment skimmed off the top of the submarine deal.
 
At Wednesday’s hearing, Ganor’s lawyer said that he was sticking to the factual narrative which he told police, but was altering how he thought police should interpret his intent.
 
For example, when he funneled funds to other suspects in the case, he is now saying that he was not bribing them, but rather paying for services.
 
Instead, he is saying that when he had admitted to bribery earlier, it was while under massive pressure from police.
 
The police announcement Tuesday night appeared to come out of nowhere regarding an immunity deal and massive cooperation by Ganor dating back to July 2017.
 
Ganor’s cooperation was critical in the case against the around half-dozen top officials, which led to police recommendations for bribery and other charges in November 2018.
 
According to the press release, Ganor came to the police on Tuesday and suddenly said he wanted to change his narrative in the case. This led the police to question him under caution for a new potential set of crimes and may lead them to dropping his immunity deal.
 
It is unknown at this time why Ganor had a change of heart or if the developments have any relation to the new possible connections between Netanyahu and Case 3000, which Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit recently started to review.
 
There is speculation that Ganor is trying to deny that he was bribed after realizing that his partial immunity deal created problems for him to access many of his funds overseas, even as those funds were not formally seized by Israel.
 
Senior justice ministry sources have said that even if Ganor changes his narrative, the state prosecution can legally use his narrative given to date against the other suspects at trial.
 
Likewise, the sources said that the prosecution has a large volume of external documentary and other evidence that supports Ganor’s narrative to date, even if he tries to change it.
 
Finally, the sources said that the Attorney-General’s Office’s initial understanding of Ganor’s changed decision is that it has nothing to do with Netanyahu.
 
While the timing is extraordinary, the attorney-general seems to view this development as a coincidence.

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