The state’s evidence in the submarine affair, Michael Ganor, has testified that attorney David Shimron promised to use his connections to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to advance the deal with German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Tuesday morning.
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The paper reported over the weekend that Netanyahu would be summoned to testify in the submarine affair, and that he may be questioned under caution. According to Tuesday’s report, the reason for this new round of questioning is Ganor’s claim that Shimron, who is Netanyahu’s cousin, told him that the prime minister was involved in advancing the deal.
Ganor, ThyssenKrupp’s representative in Israel, told investigators that he had hired the services of Shimron because of his closeness to the prime minister and his connections among the governing elite, according to the report. Ganor said that he and Shimron nicknamed Netanyahu “the friend” when they spoke about the deal, and “the brother-in-law” was the alias of Netanyahu’s diplomatic envoy Isaac Molho, who is also under investigation. Ganor said that when he asked Shimron how the deal was moving along, the latter replied: “I will ask the brother-in-law. He’ll speak with the friend.”
A representative commenting on behalf of the prime minister called the report “another typical leak attempting to harm the prime minister.” The representative stated: “The prime minister doesn’t know Ganor and didn’t know a thing about any connection between Ganor and David Shimron and ThyssenKrupp. Shimron and Molho never spoke with the prime minister on the matter. All decisions about the submarines and ships were made through organized and documented procedures, and the only considerations that drove the prime minister on these and other issues were the security of the state and its best interests.”
Shimron has yet to comment on the report.
The police are expected to recommend to the prosecution indictments against five of the people involved in the affair: Shimron, Molho, Netanyahu’s former chief of staff David Sharan, former navy commander Eliezer Marom and former National Security Council head Avriel Bar-Yosef.
Police are investigating possible corruption involved in the procurement of three submarines and four patrol boats from ThyssenKrupp. Shimron represented Ganor. Molho is suspected of promoting the deal during his diplomatic missions. Bar-Yosef, who is also embroiled in other corruption scandals, was involved in composing the opinion regarding the submarine deal. Marom is suspected of standing behind the foreign bank accounts to which the bribes related to the deal were allegedly wired.
Netanyahu has said he did not know his attorney was involved in pushing the deal. “Time after time, they try in a forced manner to tie the prime minister to the submarine affair, at a time when the justice minister has made it clear that the prime minister isn’t suspected in the matter,” Netanyahu stated in response to the report over the weekend. “We have heard many prophesies over time and a lot of speculation about ‘what is likely to be,’ but one thing is clear: There won’t be anything because there was nothing.”