A Dolphin-class submarine enters Haifa port..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Miki Ganor, the Israeli representative of German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp and a key suspect in the police corruption investigation into Israel’s purchase of German- made naval vessels, is reportedly in negotiations to become a state witness.
Termed Case 3000 by police, the affair revolves around reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal attorney David Shimron worked as an intermediary for Ganor.
Shimron is reportedly suspected of pushing for Israel to buy submarines worth some $1.5 billion from the German firm over objections of the defense establishment, including then-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.
Ganor is also reportedly suspected of bribing former Israel Navy commander Eliezer Marom to help ThyssenKrupp win an Israeli tender.
High-level Israeli officials were arrested last week in the investigation along with Ganor, including Marom; retired Brig.-Gen. Bar-Yosef; former deputy head of the National Security Council attorney Ron Shemer who works with Ganor; and Shimron.
Shimron was freed from house arrest on Saturday.
According to multiple Hebrew media reports, Ganor is in negotiations with the State Attorney’s Office to become a state witness, leading to the resignation of his attorney Nati Simchony who opposed a state’s witness agreement.
The agreement is conditional on Ganor providing investigators with names of additional senior public officials, Channel 2 reported.
Ganor is now represented by Attorney Eli Zohar, ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s lawyer.
The businessman is suspected of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit a crime; his remand was reportedly extended by four days on Monday as part of an agreement with police. The remand of Bar-Yosef was also extended by four days on Monday and Marom arrived for additional police questioning after being released to house arrest.
Both Simchony and Zohar did not return requests for comments on the state witness reports and a police spokesman did not return a request for comment.
Netanyahu, who is not a suspect in the case, has denied any involvement or impropriety in the deal with ThyssenKrupp. In an interview with Channel 20 last week the premier said he “never met Ganor in his life.”
Coalition chairman David Bitan (Likud) defended Netanyahu at a briefing for reporters at the Knesset on Monday.
He said if the prosecution sought a state’s witness, it was a sign it did not have enough information against Netanyahu and his associates.
Bitan downplayed the criminal investigations of Netanyahu and his confidants. He noted that multiple investigations of the prime minister were closed because he had been cleared of wrongdoing. Bitan also expressed optimism the same would happen with the cases that remain open.
“The prime minister won’t be indicted. But he has told me that even if he is indicted, he won’t step down,” Bitan said.
“He will succeed at proving his innocence.”
Attorney Jack Chen, who represents Bar-Yosef, told The Jerusalem Post last week that his client is cooperating with police and denies the allegations against him. Chen declined to comment on any allegations.
Shimron and Marom have also denied any wrongdoing.