Netanyahu's Former Bureau Chief David Sharan Arrested on Suspicion of Bribery in 'Submarine Affair'

Police detained five additional suspects for questioning and searched their homes, offices

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Navy Commander Major general Ram Rothberg standing on top of the new submarine in March, 2017.
Kobi Gideon / Government Press Office

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.

David Sharan, former chief of staff for Israeli PM Netanyahu, was arrested September 3, 2017 in 'submarine affair.'
Tomer Appelbaum

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

The State Prosecutor's Office asked the High Court of Justice for a two-day extension, until Tuesday, to respond to a petition demanding the formal opening of a criminal investigation against Netanyahu in the case.

The petition was filed by Abie Binyamin, a prominent figure in the ongoing weekly demonstrations in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva near the home of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit protesting his handling of the investigations into Netanyahu's conduct.

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

Netanyahu himself is not a suspect in this case, but David Shimron, a personal lawyer and adviser to the prime minister as well as his cousin, is. ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, the shipbuilder that is part of the German industrial group ThyssenKrupp , is represented in Israel by Ganor, the key suspect in the affair.

Ganor allegedly bribed high-ranking defense officials in order to advance the deal with ThyssenKrupp. In July he signed an agreement to turn state's evidence in the case. In exchange for testifying against other suspects, he will serve one year in prison and be fined 10 million shekels ($2.8 million). 

Also among the suspects is Avriel Bar-Yosef, former deputy head of Israel's National Security Council. In February 2016, Netanyahu named him head of the NSC and national security adviser, but in June Bar-Yosef announced that he was turning down the offer.