The Israeli Submarine Scandal: What We Know

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Benjamin Netanyahu climbs out after a visit inside the Rahav, the fifth submarine in the fleet, after it arrived in Haifa port January 12, 2016
Benjamin Netanyahu climbs out after a visit inside the Rahav, the fifth submarine in the fleet, after it arrived in Haifa port January 12, 2016Credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Updates

Despite police inquiry, Israeli lawmakers approved funding for German ship maker

A Knesset subcommittee voted last week to approve funding for the purchase of new vessels from the German company ThyssenKrupp, even though the police are currently investigating two different aspects of these deals for possible improprieties.

The subcommittee on the defense budget – a joint subcommittee of the Knessets Finance Committee and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee – met last Thursday to discuss the proposed defense budget for 2017. Read the full story

Netanyahu denies intervening in naval tender under police investigation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday denied allegations that he had acted improperly with regard to a tender to purchase naval vessels for the Israel Navy.

The tender is currently the subject of a police investigation under the code name File 3000.

"Contrary to allegations in the media, the purchase of four surface crafts was conducted in accordance with the recommendations of the navy and the defense ministry," the Prime Minister's Bureau said in a statement on Sunday evening. Read the full story

Police recommend charging Netanyahu's pick for national security adviser with bribery

The Israel Police announced on Thursday it found sufficient evidence to charge Avriel Bar-Yosef, a former deputy head of National Security Council, with bribery. Bar-Yosef remains a suspect in the so-called submarine affair.

The announcement was made after the completion of an investigation into suspicions of bribery, fraud and breach of trust while Bar-Yosef was serving on the National Security Council.

Bar-Yosef was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pick for national security adviser.

Bar-Yosef was suspected of receiving bribes from German businessman Michael Herzog, who invested hundreds of thousands of euros in a company owned by a relative of Bar-Yosef.

In return, the suspect furthered the business interests of the German businessman – for instance within Israel's Tzemach Committee dealing with Israel's natural gas interests.  

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German maker of Israeli submarines says secrets stolen in 'massive' cyberattack

ThyssenKrupp, the German maker of Israel's new fleet of submarines, has been the victim of a "massive" cyberattack, the company said Thursday.

According to ThyssenKrupp, technical trade secrets were stolen earlier this year in the hack, the steelmaker said on Thursday. "ThyssenKrupp has become the target of a massive cyberattack," the German company said in a statement... Read the full story

Israeli defense official on submarine deal: I wasn't aware of Iranian connection

A senior defense ministry official said Saturday that he was not aware of Iranian involvement in the deal to purchase submarines from Germany, but added that I did not say that the [defense establishment] did not know.

The head of the Defense Ministrys political security department, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Gilad, answered questions at a Beer Sheva event about a Haaretz report that found that Iran has received tens of millions of euros in dividends from ThyssenKrupp, the German corporation that has supplied the Israeli navy with ships and submarines. Yedioth Ahronoth was first to report on Friday that the Iran Foreign Investment Company holds nearly 5 percent of ThyssenKrupps shares. (Almog Ben ZikriRead the full story

How Israeli funds may reach Iran

The Iranian government would benefit financially if the German company ThyssenKrupp sells submarines and boats to Israel, an Israeli media report revealed on Friday.

The possible deal involves three submarines and several boats (to protect Israels offshore natural gas platforms), and has been dubbed the submarine affair given the involvement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his personal family lawyer in the matter.

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The brilliant marketing maneuver behind the deal to buy German ships

The affair of the acquisitions by the Israel Navy – which has already caused problems for the prime ministers attorney David Shimron and led to the opening of a police investigation that is liable to involve Benjamin Netanyahu himself – is divided into two parts: the controversy surrounding the purchase of three new submarines for the navy and the story of the tender for supplying four new Saar 6 ships. In both cases, the manufacturer that won the tenders is the German company ThyssenKrupp whose Israeli mediator, Michael Ganor, is represented by Shimron.

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Growing chance that Israel-Germany submarine deal will be canceled

The chances of the Israeli-German sub deal falling through are increasing, a source at the German firm ThyssenKrupp has said.

The German newspaper Handelsblatt printed on Monday an interview with the source, who said that INS Dakar, Israel's sixth sub due to be delivered in 2019, will likely be the last one to be built in Germany's Kiel shipyards for Israel. He said he expected the deal to sell Israel three additional subs, which are at the center of controversy lately, to be canceled. 

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State's witness: Shimron stood to earn millions from deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus personal lawyer was due to earn tens of millions of shekels from an agreement, since suspended, to buy three submarines from Germany. That, according to statements reportedly made to the Israel Police by a states witness in the case.

Michael Ganors testimony about David Shimron was reported by Channel 2 and Channel 10 on Sunday.

According to the reports, Ganor told police that Shimrons commission from the deal between the state and ThyssenKrupp was to be 20 percent of Ganors own fee from the German conglomerate for brokering it. A 20 percent cut would have amounted to tens of millions of shekels, Ganor said. Read the full story

The Beast: On board IDF's most advanced and expensive war machine

Haaretzs military correspondent joined the crew of INS Rahav, the Israel Navys newest submarine, on a brief training cruise. He learned about the unique physical and mental demands of service on the IDF's most expensive war machine, its technological capabilities and why Israeli subs are still off-limits to women.

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The Israel Navy's INS Rahav submarine. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Defense chief backs Netanyahu, endorses submarine deal

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman defended the controversial submarine deal on Wednesday.

"Sometimes when people are in a complicated position, they have problems with their memory, he said Wednesday in response to criticism voiced by his predecessor, Moshe Ya'alon.

We made a very good decision to protect our security with the submarine, Lieberman said. It is impossible to detail all the discussions. I can promise you that we made the best decision with a broad consensus among security officials and politicians.

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Analysis: Police close in on Netanyahu's inner circle

No politician, however honest, wants to be in a situation where the people closest to him are in the grip of the police and the prosecution. As if this werent enough, the investigation of two close associates deprives Netanyahu of his habit of consulting with them on a host of other issues, diplomatic, political and legal.

Recent developments could explain the ultra-aggressive line of the Prime Ministers Office in recent weeks, from the bald, public attack on Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich to the frenzy of draft laws on investigation protocol that Likud MKs close to Netanyahu are sponsoring. Slowly but surely, the bans on publication will be peeled away, starting with the name of the second associate and continuing with the contents of Ganors statements to police.

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Netanyahu defends lawyer embroiled German submarine deal scandal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended his personal lawyer, David Shimron, amid reports of the attorneys possible conflict of interest regarding Israels purchase of submarines from Germany.

Netanyahu knows David Shimron to be as straight as an arrow, a man extra careful to respect the law and regulations, and who is a first-rate lawyer, the Prime Ministers Office said in a statement Tuesday.

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Two Netanyahu confidants detained for questioning

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attorney and confidant David Shimron, as well as another associate, were detained for questioning on Sunday as part of the ongoing Israel Police investigation into the purchase of German submarines and other watercraft, known as Case 3000.

It remains unclear what police suspect for the second associate, who is considered to be close with both Netanyahu and Shimron.

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German investigation: Israeli represented by PM's lawyer to receive millions for brokering deal

Miki Ganor, the Israeli representative of the German company selling submarines to Israel, received some 10-30 million Euros (41-123 million shekels) for brokering the deal, according to Germanys Handelsblatt newspaper, which previously reported on corruption at the firm, ThyssenKrupp.

A source in the German company said that although there were no indications of improper behavior by consultants related to Israel, "a comprehensive check" would be made because of recent reports in the Israeli press.

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Analysis: Submarine scandal should also focus on Netanyahu's other attorney

The storm in the submarine affair is now focused, naturally enough, on revelation of the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus personal attorney, David Shimron, was also the attorney of the Israeli broker in the submarine purchase. But its not just a matter of the legal services provided by Shimron to Netanyahu, the cost and funding of which the two men refuse to reveal. The other half of the Shimron-Molho legal firm, Isaac Molho, is spending a lot of his time as Netanyahus personal emissary on sensitive diplomatic missions. 

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Amid Backlash, Netanyahu Defends His Motives in German Submarine Deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he acted to promptly advance the submarine deal with Germany because he wanted to make sure that the issue was agreed upon while German Chancellor Angela Merkel, considered a great friend of Israel, is still in office.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu onboard the Rahav, the fifth submarine in Israel's fleet, after it arrived from Germany in January 2016Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO

Israel and Germany agree to kill submarine deal if graft found

Israel and Germany agreed a few weeks ago to call off the proposed purchase of submarines from a German company in the event that an Israeli police investigation substantiates allegations of graft related to the deal. Officials from both countries say the recent agreement was added as a new clause to the draft memorandum of understanding on the purchase at the insistence of the German government. The purchase memorandum is expected to be signed within a few weeks. (Barak Ravid) Read the full story

The submarine affair: two more brought in for questioning, as circle of suspects continues to expand

Gary Hakim, a businessman, Likud activist and relative of Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, and Steinitz's former adviser Aviad Shai, are the two people who were questioned on Sunday as part of the so-called submarines affair.

Hakim is one of the owners of Shafir Engineering, while Shai served as an adviser to Steinitz during his tenure as finance minister.

The investigation (known as Case 3000 by the police) focuses on suspected corruption involving the deal to purchase submarines and missile ships. After the investigation, the two were released to their home under restricted conditions.

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Former Israeli minister arrested for taking bribes in 'submarine affair'

Former Israeli minister Moody Zandberg was arrested on Monday on suspicion of taking bribes in connection to the so-called "submarine affair." Former deputy national security adviser,  Avriel Bar-Yosef, and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz's media adviser were also being investigated on Monday in connection to the case.

The case involves allegations of bribery in a deal to purchase three submarines and as well as a number of ships to protect Israel's offshore drilling platforms from Germany, at a total cost of around 1.5 billion euros.

The investigation of the former minister is centered on talks that were held by Israel and a South Korean company regarding the purchase of ships to be used to defend the deep water gas rigs. The tender for the purchase of the ships was put on hold, and eventually an agreement was signed to purchase them from the German company ThyssenKrupp. 

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Two figures close to Israel's energy minister questioned in submarine affair

A businessman who is a close associate of Yuval Steinitz and a former senior adviser to the energy minister  were questioned on Sunday in Case 3000, the police investigation of alleged corruption in Israel's purchase of submarines and naval patrol boats from the German firm ThyssenKrupp.

The businessman is active in the Likud party.

Last week a number of people were arrested in the case: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's former bureau chief David Sharan; Shai Brosh, the former head of the Israel Navy's Shayetet 13 commando unit; Steinitz's political adviser Rami Taib; former science and technology minister Eliezer Sandberg; media consultant Tzachi LIeber; and public relations executive Natan Mor. Sharan, Lieber and Mor remain in detention while the others have been released on house arrest.

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Analysis / The missing piece in the submarine puzzle: What did the politicians know?

The detention of six suspects on Sunday in the investigation of the procurement of submarines and patrol vessels reflects police efforts to ramp up the probe of the huge, controversial naval transactions that have been dubbed Case 3000. The identities of some of the latest suspects indicate that detectives are seeking to answer the question of if and how senior politicians were involved in these transactions.

The new developments in the investigation are mostly based on information provided by Michael Ganor, the local representative for the shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, who turned states evidence in July. But Ganor, based on what leaked from his testimony before a broad gag order was imposed on the investigation, could provide firsthand evidence primarily regarding what happened on the working level in the defense establishment – in the navy, the National Security Council and the Defense Ministry.

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Analysis / A clueless Netanyahu is just as bad as a complicit one

Inside the large building housing the Prime Ministers Office in Jerusalem, on the first floor, is a small, even more protected area. Transparent glass walls separate it from the rest of the structure, giving it its nickname, the aquarium. That is where the prime minister meets with all his top advisers, and also where the security cabinet meets. In the aquarium, at the end of the hallway, in the last office on the right, the desk closest to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus office belonged for more than a year and a half to David Sharan, who was arrested Sunday on suspicion of taking a bribe in the submarine affair. The latter is shaping up as the most serious corruption affair in the history of the state.

Sharan was Netanyahus chief of staff and one of the people closest to him. He was responsible for the prime ministers schedule, he took phone calls and filtered them, he said who got through Netanyahus door and when. He sat in on sensitive meetings, was exposed to classified material and attended political meetings. At a certain point Netanyahu informed Sharan that he intended to give him the senior post of cabinet secretary, but backtracked at the last minute. To this day the reason he did so is not entirely clear. Not long ago, Netanyahu was even considering making Sharan civil service commissioner – the regulator of all public service in this country.

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Ex-head of Israel's Navy SEALs arrested in submarine corruption affair

The retired rear admiral in the Israel Navy who was arrested Sunday on suspicion of fraud, receiving a bribe and breach of trust was identified publicly on Tuesday morning as Shai Brosh, former head of the navy's elite Shayetet 13 commando unit.

Brosh was detained as part of the ongoing Israel Police investigation into the purchase of German submarines and other watercraft, known as Case 3000, that involves Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The former rear admiral was arrested based on information provided by state's witness Michael Ganor, an Israeli representative of German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

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Suspect in submarine affair says he passed money onto Netanyahus former bureau chief

Media adviser Tzachi Lieber, who has been implicated in the criminal investigation concerning Israels purchase of submarines from a German shipbuilder, claimed he transferred money from Michael Ganor, the shipyards representative in Israel, to David Sharan, the former bureau chief of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The allegations were made by Liebers lawyer, Yair Regev, in Rishon Letzion Magistrates Court on Thursday, during a hearing request for an extension of Liebers detention. The court decided to extend both Lieber and Sharans detention by a further six days.

During Thursdays hearing, Regev claimed that Sharan – who already knew Lieber – approached him and asked Lieber to accept about 100,000 shekels ($28,300) from Ganor, who has turned states evidence in the case.

Sharan asked Lieber to arrange a fictitious transaction with Ganor to transfer the funds, Regev added.

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Netanyahu's former bureau chief David Sharan arrested on suspicion of bribery in 'submarine affair'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's former bureau chief, David Sharan, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of accepting bribes in the so-called submarine affair. A court ordered him to remain in detention for five days.

Also detained for questioning Sunday were former Israel Navy commander Eliezer Marom as well as an unnamed retired rear admiral in the navy who is suspected of fraud, taking a bribe and breach of trust and at least two media advisers, also unnamed. The media advisers, who were detained while on their way to Ben-Gurion International Airport, are suspected of aiding in the commission of a bribery offense and obstruction of justice.

The police also searched the suspects' homes and offices.

The intelligence that led to the investigation came from the statements of Michael Ganor, who is a witness for the state in the case.

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Senior Israeli National Security Council Official Suspected of Bribes Named

The former senior official on the National Security Council detained for questioning earlier this week on suspicion of taking bribes is Avriel Bar-Yosef, who served as the deputy head of the organization until 2015.

In February 2016, he was appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the role of NSC head and national security adviser, but in June Bar-Yosef announced that he would forgo the offer.

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Avriel Bar-Yosef.Credit: Daniel Bar-On / Ginni

Michael Ganor, businessman with ties to Netanyahu, turns state's witness

Michael Ganor, an Israeli representative of German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, has signed a deal with state prosecutors to turn states witness in the submarine-purchase scandal that is plaguing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ganor, thought to be at the heart of the affair, will serve one year in prison and be fined 10 million shekels ($2.8 million) in return for his testimony. (Yaniv KubovichRead the full story

Michael Ganor in Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court, July 21, 2017. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Germany postpones submarine deal due to corruption investigation

The signing of a memorandum of understanding on the German sale of three submarines to Israel has been postponed, a National Security Council official said on Tuesday morning.

The terms of the submarine deal were already signed upon and concluded, including Germany's financing of one third of the cost. The signing ceremony, which was meant to take place next week, was supposed to constitute the official approval of the deal, after both Israel and the German national security council agreed to the terms. However, the advances in the probe in Israel led to the postponement of the ceremony to a yet-unknown date. (Gili Cohen) Read the full story

Netanyahu confidant David Shimron revealed as suspect detained in graft probe

The identity of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's associate who was detained as a suspect in the submarine graft case has been revealed as the prime minister's personal lawyer, David Shimron.

Deals for Germany to sell Israel three submarines and naval boats are the focus of two police investigations into possible wrongdoing involving Shimron, a former Israeli admiral, a former high-ranking Israeli defense official and German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp's representative in Israel. (Yaniv KubovichRead the full story

Attorney David Shimron on July 11, 2017.Credit: Moti Milrod

Police detain 6 suspects, including Netanyahu associates

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 some are very close associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

One suspect is a former Defense Ministry official who took part in the opinion given regarding the acquisition of the submarines, the second is 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.Read the full story

The Lebanese connection: The ties linking firm building Israel's submarine to Lebanese official

The daughter of the Lebanese defense minister is married to the brother of one of the owners of a company involved in building the new Saar 6 warships for the Israel Navy.

Ann-Marie, the daughter of Lebanese Defense Minister Samir Moqbel, is married to one of the brothers of Iskandar Safa, the billionaire Lebanese businessman. Safa and his brother Akram own the Privinvest company, with offices and Beirut and Abu Dabi. This company holds 30 percent of the shares of another company, Abu Dhabi MAR, which is considered a leading shipbuilder in the Persian Gulf. In 2015 Abu Dhabi Mar changed its name to German Navy Yards Kiel, the same year Israel announced it was going to buy Saar-6 corvettes from Germany to protect the countrys natural gas platforms. Channel 2 reported on the Lebanese connection on Wednesday. Read the full story

Germany authorizes massive deal to sell submarines to Israel, report says

Germany's national security council has authorized the sale of three submarines to Israel, the Der Spiegel weekly reported. The deal is currently the focus of an Israeli police investigation into possible wrong doing involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's personal lawyer and the German ship maker's local representative.

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.

As part of the deal reportedly authorized this week, ThyssenKrupp will supply Israel with three submarines and the German government will help finance the deal, valued at around 1.5 billion euro. The submarines are expected to replace older submarines that the Israeli navy expects to be retired within a decade. (Gili Cohen) Read the full story

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