Po­lice rec­om­mend six in­dict­ments as probe of ‘Sub­marines Af­fair’ ends

Ne­tanyahu’s lawyer David Shim­ron among sus­pects

The Jerusalem Post - - FRONT PAGE - • By TAMARA ZIEVE

The Is­rael Po­lice has com­pleted its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Case 3000, also known as “the Sub­marines Af­fair,” and has gath­ered suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence against Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s lawyer, con­fi­dant and rel­a­tive David Shim­ron as well as for­mer Is­rael Navy com­man­der Eliezer Marom, to rec­om­mend in­dict­ments against them on counts of bribery, among other al­leged crimes.

The po­lice will rec­om­mend to the State Pros­e­cu­tor’s Of­fice that six sus­pects should be pros­e­cuted: Shim­ron, Marom, for­mer deputy head of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Avriel Bar-Yosef, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shai Brosh, for­mer min­is­ter Modi Zand­berg and David Sharan, for­mer chief of staff in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice.

The po­lice noted that there had not been suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence of of­fenses by Ne­tanyahu’s trusted le­gal ad­viser, at­tor­ney Yitzhak Mol­cho, who will there­fore es­cape in­dict­ment.

In Case 3000, pub­lic of­fi­cials,

busi­ness and se­nior ex­ec­u­tives – ei­ther di­rectly or through busi­ness and pri­vate com­pa­nies – are sus­pected of hav­ing used their con­nec­tions to profit from Is­rael’s ac­qui­si­tion of sub­marines and ves­sels from the Ger­man cor­po­ra­tion ThyssenKrupp, along with the pro­mo­tion of ad­di­tional busi­ness in­ter­ests.

Miki Ganor, ThyssenKrupp’s sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Is­rael turned state’s wit­ness, al­legedly per­pe­trated fraud along with the other sus­pects in a deal for Is­rael to buy nu­clear sub­marines from the Ger­man com­pany.

Ac­cord­ing to the terms of his agree­ment, Ganor will be tried on sus­pi­cion of tax of­fenses, and will serve a 12-month prison sen­tence and be fined NIS 10 mil­lion in ex­change for his co­op­er­a­tion with the state and pro­vid­ing fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the case.

Op­po­si­tion lead­ers re­sponded to the po­lice rec­om­men­da­tions by call­ing for Ne­tanyahu to re­sign.

“For years, Ne­tanyahu cre­ated a cul­ture of govern­ment cor­rup­tion,” said op­po­si­tion leader Tzipi Livni. “Those who are con­cerned about se­cu­rity do not al­low their con­fi­dants to med­dle with se­cu­rity for per­sonal gain. Whether he knew or not, he should have known. When cor­rup­tion reaches the se­cu­rity of Is­rael, when the peo­ple clos­est to it are the ones who cor­rupted it – the prime min­is­ter has to re­sign.”

“If the prime min­is­ter knew what his as­so­ciates were in­volved in, he should re­sign,” Zion­ist Union leader Avi Gab­bay said. “If he didn’t know, he should re­sign be­cause he is not fit to lead the de­fense es­tab­lish­ment.

“Steal­ing money from the de­fense es­tab­lish­ment is a be­trayal of IDF sol­diers,” he added. “With this money we could have bought ar­mored per­son­nel car­ri­ers in­stead of the old ones that our sol­diers were forced to use dur­ing the last Gaza war four years ago.”

Ne­tanyahu him­self was ques­tioned in con­nec­tion with the case but not as a sus­pect.

Chair­man of the Knes­set’s State Comptroller Com­mit­tee MK Shelly Yaci­movich said the rec­om­men­da­tions against of­fi­cials so close to Ne­tanyahu leave two op­tions: “Ei­ther he was a part­ner to it all, or he is a blind, naive and clumsy per­son who sur­rounds him­self with a cor­rupt en­vi­ron­ment which ex­ploits him and trades with state as­sets and se­ri­ously harms its se­cu­rity in or­der to pocket money.”

In the same vein, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said that the po­lice rec­om­men­da­tions to in­dict the for­mer navy com­man­der, among other cru­cial po­si­tion hold­ers and staff close to the prime min­is­ter, “do not al­low for Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu to con­tinue to serve in his post.

“Ne­tanyahu owes the pub­lic an ex­pla­na­tion,” Lapid said. “What else didn’t he know? How did it hap­pen that those around him al­legedly earned tens of mil­lions un­der the ta­ble in a sen­si­tive arms deal that he per­son­ally man­aged? How was it pos­si­ble that he did not know, and why did he au­tho­rize the sale of ad­vanced sub­marines to Egypt while it was hid­den from the de­fense min­is­ter, the Min­istry of De­fense and the IDF? If all this hap­pened with­out Ne­tanyahu know­ing what was go­ing on in his of­fice, he is not fit to con­tinue in his po­si­tion.”

Ne­tanyahu said in 2017 that the sale of Ger­man sub­marines to Egypt was a Ger­man de­ci­sion and that Is­rael did not “ap­prove or dis­ap­prove,” but ex­pressed its opin­ion. Lapid, who was a mem­ber of the se­cu­rity cabi­net in Ne­tanyahu’s last govern­ment, said that the prime min­is­ter gave Ger­many the okay to sell Egypt the sub­marines.

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Avichai Man­del­blit on Thurs­day de­scribed the af­fair as “a very dif­fi­cult af­fair. It is a very sig­nif­i­cant af­fair, it took two years [to in­ves­ti­gate]... It’s se­ri­ous and now the case will go to the state pros­e­cu­tor who will check it and make de­ci­sions.”

For­mer de­fense min­is­ter Moshe Ya’alon said that: “From the first mo­ment, I said this is the largest, most se­ri­ous cor­rup­tion scan­dal in the his­tory of the state, and that there is no chance that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will end with­out in­dict­ments – and I was right.

“At the same time, I re­it­er­ate that the fact that Ne­tanyahu was not ques­tioned un­der cau­tion in the af­fair, [and] the fact that such in­ves­tiga­tive mea­sures as re­frain­ing from search­ing his lawyers’ of­fice, against whom – at least one of them – the po­lice has gath­ered sub­stan­tial ev­i­dence for an in­dict­ment, raises dif­fi­cult ques­tions about the man­age­ment of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion... Sur­pris­ingly, al­though Ne­tanyahu was not cat­e­go­rized as a sus­pect by the po­lice or the State Pros­e­cu­tor’s Of­fice, [the in­ves­ti­ga­tion] was con­ducted un­der tight su­per­vi­sion by the at­tor­ney-gen­eral in a man­ner usu­ally re­served for in­ter­ro­ga­tions in which the prime min­is­ter is in­volved,” Ya’alon con­tin­ued. “This is just one of the many ques­tions I have for the at­tor­ney-gen­eral about the con­duct of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Po­lice sources, how­ever, told Is­raeli daily Ye­diot Aharonot that Lapid and Ya’alon’s at­tempts to tie Ne­tanyahu’s name to the al­le­ga­tions against the sus­pects were “very far from what they told po­lice,” when they tes­ti­fied in con­nec­tion with the case. •

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