Israeli Submarine Scandal: Court Imposes Gag Order on Testimony of State Witness Ganor

Former deputy national security advisor who was close to Ganor asked the Israeli ambassador in Germany to meet with him, saying he had lots of jobs to offer

Michael Ganor, who has turned state's witness in the submarine affair investigation, in court, July 17, 2017.
Ilan Assayag

An Israeli court issued a gag order on Tuesday covering the testimony of the state’s witness in the submarines corruption affair, Michael Ganor.

Judge Einat Ron, the president of the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court, wrote in her decision that regrettably, the numerous media reports about the affair have spread in a way “that could harm the continuing investigation in a concrete manner.”

The gag order, in effect until September 17, applies to all details concerning, related to or arising from Ganor’s testimony – including any steps taken before he signed the agreement with prosecutors to turn state’s evidence. It also covers any actions derived from his testimony, the judge ruled.

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

In return for his testimony, Ganor will serve one year in prison and be fined 10 million shekels ($2.8 million). As the person who actually brokered deals between the government and ThyssenKrupp, he is expected to shed light on any corruption in the defense establishment involving the submarine deal and several major purchases over the past few years. Police investigators are now questioning him on the details of the affair, known as “Case 3000.”

Exploiting official contacts

In a separate development in the case, former Deputy National Security Adviser Atalia Rosenbaum, who is considered to be very close to Ganor, recommended that the Israeli ambassador in Germany meet with Ganor when he was trying to promote the submarine project, Channel 10 reported on Tuesday evening.

Rosenbaum, who was the deputy to then-National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, told ambassador Yoram Ben-Zeev: “You are about to retire and [Ganor] has a lot of executive and directorial jobs [to offer].” Ben-Zeev asked her not to call him again.

On Sunday, Haaretz reported on parts of what Ganor told police investigators about Netanyahu’s personal lawyer and relative, David Shimron.

Ganor told the police that Shimron was supposed to earn tens of millions of shekels from Israel's purchase of three submarines from Germany, which has since been suspended.

According to reports, Ganor said Shimron’s commission from the deal was to be 20 percent of Ganor’s own fee from the German conglomerate for brokering the deal. A 20 percent cut would have amounted to tens of millions of shekels, Ganor said. Shimron represented Ganor when the deal was reached.

Shimron denied the reports. “These claims are so far from reality that it’s inconceivable for a state witness to have made them to the police,” he told Channel 10. “In any case, throughout the time when Shimron was representing Ganor, he acted as an attorney, and all his actions were legal.”

Former Israel Navy commander Eliezer Marom, one of several ex-senior defense officials who are now suspects in Case 3000, was reportedly involved in persuading ThyssenKrupp to replace its previous Israeli representative, Yeshayahu Barkat, with Ganor.