The High Court of Justice will hear the petitions demanding that a criminal investigation be launched against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the submarine affair, the court announced Monday.
According to the statement, Court President Esther Hayut and justices Neal Hendel and Noam Sohlberg will preside over the hearing, scheduled for January 25.
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The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, which filed the petition, is demanding that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit order an investigation. The movement is also asking that a state commission of inquiry be set up. Another petition that has been joined with this one was filed by the Israeli Democracy Guard, which is demanding that Netanyahu also be questioned about the shares he sold in a steel company controlled by his cousin, Nathan Milikowsky.
The submarine affair, which has been dubbed Case 3000, involves two transactions between Israel and a German shipbuilding firm: The purchase of three submarines for 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion), and the 430-million-euro purchase of missile boats to defend the gas rigs in the Mediterranean. According to indictments already issued in the case, senior naval officers, state employees and associates of the prime minister asked for and took bribes to advance the deals. The primary complaint against the prime minister dealt with his alleged initiative to purchase additional submarines against the position of the defense establishment.
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Two months ago Mendelblit decided not to question Netanyahu in the shares case, saying the available evidence didn’t look solid enough to prosecute him, and that in any case the statute of limitations on the suspected breach of trust had expired. Nevertheless, Mendelblit said, “Netanyahu got a significant benefit from his cousin, Nathen Milikowsky.”