Two confidants of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were released from police custody late Sunday night after some 15 hours of questioning in the investigation into suspected corruption in the purchase of naval vessels from a German shipbuilder.
While police did not reveal the identities of the two, multiple reports named one of them as David Shimron, Netanyahu’s cousin and personal lawyer, and said the second was also an attorney who is considered close to the prime minister.
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.
The two were allowed to return home under provisional release and are expected to be called in for questioning again, the Ynet news website reported.
According to the outlet, the second suspect was implicated by Ganor, who testified to the state that Shimron had told him of the suspect’s ability to push Thyssenkrupp’s interests in winning the naval vessel tender. The suspect is said to be a Netanyahu confidant on diplomatic matters.
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.
Channel 2 news reported Sunday that Netanyahu is expected to provide testimony in the case sometime 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.
Sunday’s interrogation session will be Netanyahu’s fifth in connection with the investigations since the allegations surfaced last December.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.