Israeli Submarine Scandal: Police Detain Six Suspects for Questioning, Including Netanyahu Associates

The six were questioned as criminal suspects for bribery, fraud, tax offenses and money laundering, police say

Michael Ganor, a key suspect in Israel's 'submarine affair,' in court after his arrest this week.
Michael Ganor, a key suspect in Israel's 'submarine affair,' in court after his arrest this week. Ilan Assayag

Six suspects were brought in for questioning over Israel's so-called "submarine affair" on Monday morning, Israel Police said. Three of the suspects are central figures in the scandal, and one is a lawyer considered close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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One suspect is Avriel Bar-Yosef, a former Defense Ministry official who took part in the opinion given regarding the acquisition of the submarines, the second is Michael Ganor, a former military man-turned businessman who was closely involved the deal and the third is another central figure in the affair. The three other suspects have family and work relations with the main three suspects.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu climbs out of the Rahav, a submarine widely believed to be capable of firing nuclear missiles, Haifa, Israel, January 12, 2016.
Baz Ratner, Reuters

Brig. Gen. (res.) Avriel Bar-Yosef, who is friendly with Ganor from when they served together in the navy, vigorously promoted the purchase of naval vessels from Germany when he was deputy head of the National Security Council.

The six were questioned as criminal suspects for bribery, fraud, tax offenses and money laundering, police said, over a deal that would see Germany selling Israel three submarines.

Ganor will remain in custody for four more days, a judge ruled late Monday, citing fears of obstruction justice on Ganor's part. The lawyer, considered a close associate of Netanyahu, was released to house arrest.

On Monday morning, officers from the police's anti-corruption unit arrived at the homes of the suspects and brought them in for questioning. The police wanted to prevent a situation in which the suspects would independently make their way to the questioning, for fear of obstruction and to surprise the suspects as to the date of the interrogation.

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The deal is the focus of a police investigation into possible wrongdoing involving Netanyahu's personal lawyer and German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp's local representative.

As the suspects brought it for questioning on Monday had been mentioned as central figures in the affair since its beginning, it was clear both to them and to the police that they would be questioned as criminal suspects. 

Two weeks ago, the Der Spiegel weekly reported that Germany's national security council has authorized the sale of three submarines to Israel. According to the report, the German government included a clause into the agreement allowing it to cancel the deal if the allegations in the case that has been dubbed "Case 3000" prove to be true.