Germany Reportedly Contradicts Netanyahu's Attorney's Claim: He Met Us on Ship Deal

German government officials reportedly confirmed that David Shimron, the German envoy to Israel and a ThyssenKrupp representative met at a Tel Aviv restaurant.

David Shimron in 2015.
Moti Milrod

Attorney David Shimron, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyer, attended a meeting with Germany concern ThyssenKrupp and the German ambassador in Israel, contradicting his claim that he had not met with any German officials regarding a controversial submarine deal.

Yedioth Ahronoth on Wednesday reported the 2015 meeting, which German government officials confirmed. The meeting was held at a sensitive stage of negotiations to acquire the submarines.

The officials in Berlin confirmed that ThyssenKrupp representative Michael Ganor had invited Ambassador Clemens von Goetze to the Tel Aviv restaurant on December 22, 2015. They said Shimron also attended the meeting, in which they discussed political and economic issues.

Shimron refused to comment on the report.

Shimron previously asserted, “I didn’t handle the issue of Israel acquiring sea vessels with any state figures,” in reference to Germany. However, after it was published that Shimron had called the legal advisor of the defense establishment, Ahaz Ben-Ari, and became angry at him over the ministry’s decision to issue an international tender to purchase ships to guard the gas fields. Shimron sought a deal for the German shipbuilder without a tender, without informing him that he represented ThyssenKrupp.

State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan decided last month to make the inquiry into Israel’s purchase of the submarines and ships a criminal investigation. The investigation will look into the process of purchasing three submarines and four ships from the German concern. Netanyahu is not a suspect in the investigation.

A new submarine built for the Israeli navy at the site of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel, northern Germany, in 2013.
CARSTEN REHDER / AFP

The main suspicion is that Shimron – Netanyahu’s cousin and personal lawyer – represented Ganor, a representative of ThyssenKrupp. The German company recently signed a memorandum of understanding to build three submarines for the Israel Navy. Netanyahu pushed at first to add the three subs to Israel’s fleet, and in 2015 there were negotiations on the matter with the German firm. In addition, the prime minister sought to acquire two anti-submarine ships. The defense establishment and former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon opposed increasing Israel’s submarine fleet.