Ne­tanyahu al­lies face po­lice grilling as in­dict­ments loom

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY ANSHEL PFEFFER

LE­GAL PRES­SURE on Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu in­ten­si­fied this week as mem­bers of his in­ner cir­cle were ques­tioned by po­lice and, in one case, rec­om­mended for in­dict­ment.

David Shim­ron and Yitzhak Mol­cho, who have served as Mr Ne­tanyahu’s per­sonal at­tor­neys for decades, were both ques­tioned by po­lice in a ses­sion that lasted four days.

The two broth­ers-in-law were asked about al­leged in­duce­ments to Is­raeli of­fi­cials of­fered in the pur­chase of Ger­man sub­marines and mis­sile-boats.

Mr Shim­ron, the Prime Min­is­ter’s cousin, has also rep­re­sented Mr Ne­tanyahu’s Likud Party in the 2015 coali­tion talks, while Mr Mol­cho served un­til last month as the Prime Min­is­ter’s spe­cial diplo­matic en­voy.

Ques­tions are un­der­stood to have been asked about the in­volve­ment of Mickey Ganor, the Is­raeli rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Thyssenkrupp ship­yard, who also used Mr Shim­ron as a lawyer, prompt­ing al­le­ga­tions of a con­flict of in­ter­est.

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment au­tho­rised the sale of three sub­marines to Is­rael last month, after re­ceiv­ing an of­fi­cial let­ter from At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Avichai Man­del­blit say­ing there was no ev­i­dence of cor­rupt prac­tice by any se­nior of­fi­cial dur­ing the process.

Mr Ne­tanyahu is not a sus­pect in the case, although ques­tions re­mained over how aware he was of his lawyers’ in­volve­ment.

The probe came as po­lice rec­om­mended in­dict­ing one of Mr Ne­tanyahu’s clos­est friends, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions chief Shaul Elovitch, in a sep­a­rate case of al­leged fraud at Bezeq, Is­rael’s largest telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany.

The main al­le­ga­tion is that Bezeq, con­trolled by Mr Elovitch, bought shares in satel­lite provider Yes for an ex­ag­ger­ated price. The ac­tion was au­tho­rised by the com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­istry dur­ing the pe­riod Mr Ne­tanyahu served as min­is­ter, although he is not cur­rently a sus­pect in this case.

The de­ci­sion whether to act on the po­lice rec­om­men­da­tion to in­dict will be made by Avichai Man­del­blit, the at­tor­ney-gen­eral.

Mr Man­del­blit will also have to rule on the pos­si­ble in­dict­ments of Mr Ne­tanyahu in the two cor­rup­tion cases con­cern­ing gifts he and his wife re­ceived from wealthy busi­ness­peo­ple in which he is the main sus­pect. The po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions in th­ese cases are nearly com­plete and the Prime Min­is­ter and his wife are ex­pected to be ques­tioned again in the com­ing days.

Mr Ne­tanyahu con­tin­ues to in­sist that “noth­ing will hap­pen be­cause noth­ing did,” and that the in­ves­ti­ga­tions are largely due to an “un­prece­dented witch-hunt” by the me­dia against him and his fam­ily.


David Shim­ron: one of Ne­tanyahu’s lawyers

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