MIKI GANOR, ThyssenKrupp’s representative in Israel, waits at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday..
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Miki Ganor, the Israel representative of German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp, on Friday signed a deal as a state’s witness, breaking the submarine affair wide open.
Already on Thursday Judge Einat Ron of the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court said at a hearing regarding the case that there have been “substantial developments” in an affair has entangled top aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former top IDF officials.
Ron spoke as she extended the detention of Ganor and of Avriel Bar-Yosef, former deputy chief of the National Security Council. Both men have been suspects in the police corruption investigation into Israel’s purchase of German-made naval vessels. Ganor is suspected of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Ganor’s deal to provide information against other suspects and testify on behalf of the prosecution includes a lenient jail sentence of one year plus a NIS 10 million fine and some improvements in the conditions of his current detention.
The investigation, known as Case 3000, has also focused on reports that Netanyahu’s personal attorney and relative, David Shimron, worked as an intermediary for Ganor.
Shimron is suspected of pushing, in an illegitimate manner, for Israel to buy submarines and other vessels valued at about $1.5 billion from the German firm over the objections of the defense establishment, including former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.
Ganor is also reportedly suspected of bribing former Israel Navy chief Eliezer Marom to help ThyssenKrupp win an Israeli tender for the naval vessels.
Channel 10 on Thursday night quoted a police source as saying Ganor should get complete immunity for the extensive incriminating information he is providing against other suspects. The information reportedly includes names of senior officials to whom he handed cash bribes in envelopes.
Marom and other current and former top IDF officials are rumored to be on the list of those involved in the affair’s alleged criminal activities.
Along with Ganor, senior Israeli officials arrested two weeks ago in the investigation included Marom, Bar-Yosef, and attorney Ron Shemer who works with Ganor and Shimron.
Shimron was freed from house arrest last Saturday.
Other reports said former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz had come in for questioning as a witness, not as a suspect, and that his predecessor Gabi Ashkenazi would be called on as well.
Police neither confirmed nor denied the reports.
Bar-Yosef lawyer Jack Chen blasted the police on Thursday for holding and extending the detention of his client, saying they had not questioned him at all in recent days. Police explained that they believed he might obstruct the investigation if he were released, to which Chen responded that the case has run for a long time and that if Bar-Yosef wanted to obstruct it, he would have done it long ago.
Netanyahu, who is not a suspect in the case, has denied any involvement or impropriety in the deal with ThyssenKrupp, and has said he did not know about Shimron’s activities regarding the issue.Eliyahu Kamisher and Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.