PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Police now believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is connected to the controversial submarine deal, a focal point of corruption probes into Netanyahu’s actions, Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit said Thursday night after he was questioned about the deal by police at Lahav 433 headquarters in Lod.
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit announced on February 28 that a police probe into the Submarine Affair had developed into a full-blown criminal investigation, but that Netanyahu was not a suspect.
Rather, the statement said that Netanyahu’s personal lawyer, David Shimron, who allegedly was in a conflict of interest when he lobbied defense officials on behalf of German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp for a submarine sale involving billions of shekels, is the one under investigation.
But Margalit said that had changed and law enforcement authorities now believe Netanyahu knew of Shimron’s relationship with ThyssenKrupp.
“I believe Netanyahu will be asked to give an explanation,” Margalit said. “He was aware, and now [the police] know he was aware.”
Questions over the 2014 submarine deal surfaced in November with a Channel 10 report that Shimron worked for the Israeli representative of ThyssenKrupp and made a push to buy the submarines from the firm over the objections of the defense establishment, including then-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.
Ya’alon has given testimony in the case.
Margalit went to Germany last year to seek evidence in the case. Due to the questioning, he canceled a political event in the South, despite it being five days before the July 4 Labor leadership primary.