Police prohibit communication between parties over submarine corruption case
As part 'Case 3000,' police forbids conglomerate ThyssenKrup's representatives in Israel to contact German headquarters; this includes Ganor, the PM's close associate, who has been arrested in case; PM's lawyer Shimron forbidden to talk to PM.
Israel Police forbade German ship building company ThyssenKrup's representatives in Israel from being contact with the company's headquarters. The order, discovered by Ynet on Wednesday, was the result of the investigation of several high-profile individuals in Israel, surrounding corruption allegations regarding the procurement of submarines and patrol ships, in what is being referred to as "Case 3000." Police suspect bribery and money laundering were a part of the deal between ThyssenKrup and Israel.
The police's instructions include Miki Ganor, another close associate Netanyahu's and a ThyssenKrup's official representative in Israel, whose remand has been extended until Thursday; Attorney Ronen Shemer, who worked for Ganor and whose remand has extended until Monday; Avriel Bar-Yosef, who served as the acting-national security advisor, whose remand has also been extended until Thursday; and former Navy commander Maj. Gen. (res.) Eliezer Marom, who was put on house arrest on Tuesday.
The above-mentioned arrests come as an attempt to move forward with the investigation without fear the suspects' coordinating their testimonies with one another. Police also detained former Navy commander Maj. Gen. (res.) Eliezer Marom for questioning on Tuesday.
"We've discovered a very concerning conduct with regards to security procurement deals in Israel that are worth billions," a police representative said in court regarding Case 3000 on Monday. "The findings (of the investigation) raise a real suspicion of ethical offenses, breach of trust, bribery, money laundering, and tax offenses."
Another person under investigation is Attorney David Shimron, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cousin and personal lawyer, who arrived early on Wednesday to be investigated for the third time, after being placed under house arrest on Monday. Attorney Amit Hadad, who is representing Shimron, gave a statement this morning. "despite the complicated situation, both personally and professionally, attorney Shimron feels relieved to a large extent to have finally been given the opportunity to present his full version to law enforcement authorities. Attorney Shimron has been acting in accordance with the law. He has fully cooperated with his investigators and is confident law enforcement authorities will reach the same conclusion." Shimron's house arrest was later extended until Friday.
The case came to light in November 2016, when it was reported police were investigating suspicions of tender bias in the procurement of submarines and patrol ships from ThyssenKrupp, bribery and a conflict of interest. Shimron had represented Ganor in two of ThyssenKrup's deals, which amount to some NIS 10 billion ($2.8 billion).
Meanwhile, leading German economic newspaper Handelsblatt reported that Shimron was present in at least one meeting Ganor had with representatives from ThyssenKrupp. In response to the report, ThyssenKrupp claimed that Ganor is its sole representative in Israel, and that he had breached the terms of his contract with them when he involved Shimron in the proceedings. Despite this, the sources claimed that ThyssenKrupp does not at present have concrete evidence of wrongdoing by Ganor, though the company has issued a statement saying that following Israeli reports, it will launch an investigation of its own into the matter.
It has also been reported that Shimron and Ganor attempted to outsource the maintenance work on the submarines to a German shipyard, putting pressure on the Israeli Navy and the workers' unions as part of their efforts. In a letter to the IDF Workers Union, chairman Moshe Friedman confirms that Ganor and Shimron met with him and Avi Nissenkorn, the head of the Histadrut Labor Federation, to pressure them against trying to foil the efforts to outsource the maintenance work.
Germany's national security council has approved a deal to sell three further nuclear-capable submarines to Israel, with magazine Der Spiegel reporting Germany had inserted a clause into the contract giving it the right to tear it up if corruption allegations were proven.
Former defense minister Moshe Ya'alon reportedly only learned of the deal to acquire the submarines in February 2016, a month and a half after Ganor and Shimron met with the German ambassador. IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot was also reportedly not informed of the ongoing talks on the deal.
In a video he posted on his Facebook page, Ya'alon claimed he "blocked the submarine deal with (his) body while I was defense minister, and the talks were renewed only after I left. This is a deal worth billions neither I as defense minister, nor the IDF chief, nor the Navy commander have asked for."
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Ya'alon said he "absolutely" believed Prime Minister Netanyahu will be indicted on the case.
Netanyahu has denied he had any knowledge that Shimron was involved in the submarine deal, but did release a statement in November in support of Shimron. "Netanyahu has been acquainted with advocate David Shimron for many years and knows him to be a man of integrity who is as straight as a ruler, who goes beyond what is required to abide by the law and follow statutes and as a lawyer of the first order," the statement said.
In March 2017, Shimron gave his testimony to police on two different cases Netanyahu is being investigated for, but while those were defined as "open testimony," he was questioned in the submarine affair, also known as Case 3000, under caution.
Initially, Shimron claimed he had never discussed the submarine issue "with the prime minister or with any other government official." However, it was later revealed he did contact the Defense Ministry's legal advisor Ahaz Ben-Ari in 2014, asking for a status report on an international bid issued by the Ministry of Defense for the acquisition of vessels to protect Israel's natural gas rigs. ThyssenKrupp wanted the deal without having to bid for it.
State Attorney Shai Nitzan decided in late February 2017 to launch a full criminal investigation into the case, while stressing Netanyahu himself was not a suspect.
The German government later confirmed Shimron was present at a meeting in Tel Aviv between Ganor and German Ambassador Clemens von Goetze in December 2015. The meeting was held two months after Netanyahu, accompanied by then-National Security Advisor and current director of the Mossad Yossi Cohen, went to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and discuss, among other things, the possibility of Israel purchasing three submarines.