2 Netanyahu associates back on the grill in submarine probe

2 Netanyahu associates back on the grill in submarine probe

Unnamed lawyer reportedly suspected of breach of trust due to his diplomatic missions on behalf of PM

David Shimron in Tel Aviv on February 17, 2015. (Ben Kelmer/Flash90)
David Shimron in Tel Aviv on February 17, 2015. (Ben Kelmer/Flash90)

Police were set to question on Monday, for the second time in as many days, two confidants of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the investigation into suspected corruption in the purchase of submarines from a German shipbuilder.

David Shimron, Netanyahu’s cousin and personal lawyer, and a second man, who is also an attorney and also close to the prime minister, were questioned on Sunday for some 15 hours and were allowed to return home under restrictive conditions.

Police suspect that the second man tried to push the submarine deal during his diplomatic trips abroad while Shimron tried to promote the interests of the German shipbuilders within Israel.

Despite the fact that the second suspect is a private lawyer, police are investigating him on suspicion of breach of trust as a public servant, because his diplomatic missions were conducted on behalf of the prime minister, Haaretz reported Monday. His identity is currently under gag order.

Miki Ganor, arrested in the submarine affair known as “Case 3000,” is brought for a court hearing at the Magistrate’s Court in Rishon Lezion, July 21, 2017. (FLASH90)

Shimron has already been questioned several times as part of the investigation by Lahav 433, the police anti-corruption unit. He served as a lawyer for Miki Ganor, the local representative of German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp, who turned state’s witness in July and is considered a key suspect in the case.

While Netanyahu is not a suspect in the investigation, which is known as Case 3000, Shimron and a number of other close associates of the prime minister are suspected of corruption.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, a former security cabinet minister, reiterated on Monday that the prime minister would be forced to give testimony in the case.

“I testified in this case. I know what hasn’t been published,” said Lapid at the start of the weekly Yesh Atid faction meeting in the Knesset. “There is no scenario, no situation in which the prime minister is not summoned for questioning in the submarines affair.”

Channel 2 news reported Sunday that Netanyahu is expected to provide testimony in the case after his return from London, where he marked the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.

The report said Netanyahu would also be questioned by police in two separate corruption investigations in which he is a suspect, known as cases 1000 and 2000.

In Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, most notably hundreds of thousands of shekels’ worth of cigars and champagne from the Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid-pro-quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister weaken a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Netanyahu has already been questioned four times in connection with the investigations since the allegations surfaced in December.

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