Senior lawyers close to Netanyahu detained in corruption probe

This latest round of the investigation comes after police finished questioning state’s witness Miki Ganor in September.

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November 5, 2017 08:41
2 minute read.
Israel navy

Israel’s fourth submarine is en route to the navy's Haifa base from Germany. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)

 
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Israel Police detained David Shimron and another senior lawyer close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday as part of ‘Case 3000,’ which was dubbed the “submarines affair.”

The two were detained for nearly 11 hours in what seems to be the investigation's third round of questioning. This latest round comes after police finished questioning state’s witness Miki Ganor in September.

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The two were released under limited conditions after a full day of questioning.

Case 3000 is a police corruption investigation into Israel’s purchase of German-made naval vessels. Ganor was the Israeli representative of German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp and became a state’s witness in the "submarines affair” in late July.

Ganor’s testimony focused on deals he conducted with the Defense Ministry, but its details are under a gag order. It was reported that a senior police figure said that Ganor provided "great material” for the investigation.

Ganor was detained in the first round of questioning along with former National Security Council deputy head Avriel Bar-Yosef.

In September, police interrogated Netanyahu’s former chief of staff David Sharan and former minister Eliezer “Modi” Zandberg in the second round of questioning into the corruption affair.

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As details of the fraud investigation initially emerged, Germany postponed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel in July.

The German government later approved the sale of three submarines to Israel, despite the ongoing investigations, signing the MoU on October 23.

The deal is worth some €1.5 billion, with 27% subsidized by the German state.

The MoU includes an escape clause, which allows Germany to back out of the deal if criminality is found in the behavior of senior decision makers or officials involved in the decision to purchase the submarines.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is not a suspect in Case 3000. However, it was reported by Channel 2 News that he would be summoned for questioning upon his return from his diplomatic trip to London.

In August, the court revealed that Netanyahu is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Netanyahu is involved in two other police investigations: Case 1000 (“the gifts affair”), in which it is suspected that he received expensive gifts from different businessmen, and Case 2000 (“the Israel Hayom affair”), in which Netanyahu allegedly negotiated with Arnon “Noni” Mozes for favorable coverage of himself in the newspaper Yediot Aharonot in exchange for his support of a bill to weaken Israel Hayom, the largest circulation Hebrew-language newspaper and Yediot's bitter competitor.

A senior source close to Netanyahu responded to the arrest of the two and said: "My suggestion to the media is to take three lemons, make a juice out of them and drink it all at once. It will wipe out their wicked smile. "Netanyahu has nothing to do with this investigation," he said.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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