Netanyahu’s former cabinet secretary testifies in submarine corruption affair
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Netanyahu’s former cabinet secretary testifies in submarine corruption affair

Zvi Hauser, who also served as deputy director general of PMO, joins list of high-level officials to be questioned in ever-expanding police probe

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, (l) speaks with Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser at a weekly cabinet meeting in July 2009. (Ariel Jerozolimski/Flash90/File)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, (l) speaks with Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser at a weekly cabinet meeting in July 2009. (Ariel Jerozolimski/Flash90/File)

Zvi Hauser, who served as the government’s cabinet secretary from 2009-2013, gave testimony to police Tuesday in connection with the corruption investigation into a multi-billion-dollar purchase of naval vessels from Germany, according to Hebrew media reports.

Hauser was appointed as cabinet secretary by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also served as deputy director general of the Prime Minister’s Office.

A lawyer by training, Hauser left his position in 2013 and moved to the Goldfarb Seligman & Co. Hauser legal firm. He was replaced as cabinet secretary by Avichai Mandelblit, who now serves as the attorney general.

Hauser was reportedly questioned at the police anti-corruption unit Lahav 433.

Earlier Tuesday a former adviser to Netanyahu, Shalom Shlomo, was also questioned by police as part of the investigation known as Case 3000.

Shlomo was an adviser to then-opposition leader Netanyahu between 2006 and 2009, shortly before Netanyahu became prime minister. He also subsequently worked for Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett.

Hauser and Shlomo are not currently suspects in the investigation of bribery and other corruption suspicions surrounding the purchase of submarines and other naval vessels from Germany.

The ever-expanding list of high level officials to be questioned in the probe comes following information given by Miki Ganor, who had been the local representative of German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp. After being identified as a key suspect in the case, Ganor turned state’s witness in July.

Miki Ganor attends a hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on July 21, 2017. (Flash90)

Investigators suspect that Ganor, along with former National Security Council deputy head Avriel Bar-Yosef, paid bribes in connection with the decision to buy three submarines from ThyssenKrupp, despite opposition from the Defense Ministry.

They also reportedly influenced decisions to buy naval corvettes to protect Israel’s offshore gas fields and awarded ThyssenKrupp a contract to service other naval vessels.

While Netanyahu is not suspected in the case, his personal lawyer, David Shimron, has been questioned under caution several times by Lahav 433.

Ganor has reportedly claimed that Shimron (who was also his attorney) was to receive 20 percent of his own commission of $45 million. Shimron was hired by Ganor to negotiate the ship and submarine purchases.

In a statement given to his attorneys, Shimron reportedly denied he was to receive a cut from the deal beyond his legal fees.

When he turned state’s witness, Ganor was suspected of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit a crime. He has reportedly been transferred to a police safe house.

Earlier on Tuesday a former commander of the navy’s elite Shayetet 13 commando unit, who was arrested in connection with the investigation, was named Tuesday as Brigadier General (res.) Shay Brosh.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with former minister and World Chair of Keren Hayesod, Eliezer Sandberg, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, October 24, 2010. (Amos Ben GershomGPO)

On Monday, Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg, a former minister and associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was named as another suspect in the ever-expanding corruption investigation. The same day police named Rami Taib, a senior aide to Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, as a suspect in the investigation. Taib was arrested on suspicion of bribery, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit a crime. Steinitz has not be identified as a suspect in the case, but was expected to give police testimony.

Brosh was arrested on Sunday along with five other suspects including David Sharan, who served as Netanyahu’s bureau chief from late 2014 to 2016, and who is suspected of bribe-taking, fraud, breach of trust, and conspiring to commit a crime. Also arrested were senior reserve IDF officers and strategic adviser Nati Mor, who has worked with several senior government officials.

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