Prosecutors weighing charges in ‘serious corruption case’ at security agency

Prosecutors weighing charges in ‘serious corruption case’ at security agency

Public servants suspected of taking bribes from firms that sell equipment to defense companies in exchange for advancing deals

General view of the Lahav 443 police unit headquarters in the city of Lod on November 4, 2019. (Flash90)
Illustrative photo of bribery (iStock by Getty Images)

State prosecutors on Tuesday informed suspects in a “serious corruption case” involving a security agency that they intend to indict them on a series of graft charges.

A statement from the Justice Ministry said prosecutors in the economic crimes division at the State Attorney’s Office are weighing charges of bribery, theft by a public servant, fraud, breach of trust, obstruction of justice, money laundering and tax offenses, among others.

It did not name the agency.

The case involves suspicions that public servants took bribes from companies that sell equipment to security agencies in exchange for advancing business deals between the agency, other security bodies and the companies suspected of bribery.

The cost of the alleged fraud is estimated to be hundreds of millions of shekels, according to the statement.

Further details of the case were barred from publication under a gag order.

Suspects in the case are entitled to a pre-trial hearing before charges are formally filed.

The announcement came less than a week after prosecutors said they would charge former defense officials and associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a major graft case involving alleged corruption in the purchase of naval vessels.

Case 3000, as it is known, centers on a possible conflict ‎of ‎interest surrounding the multi-billion-shekel procurement of military boats and submarines from German shipbuilder ‎Thyssenkrupp in 2016. Prosecutors allege Israeli officials were bribed to push a massive deal for the vessels worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The case has been described by some as the biggest graft scandal in Israel’s history.

An Israeli navy Dolphin-class submarine (photo credit: Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
An Israeli Navy Dolphin-class submarine. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Among those facing charges are Miki Ganor, Thyssenkrupp’s former agent in Israel; Eliezer Marom, a former head of the Israeli navy; David Shimron, Netanyahu’s cousin and ex-personal lawyer; David Sharan, a former aide to Netanyahu and to Energy Minister Yuval Steinetz; and former minister Eliezer Sandberg.

Prosecutors did not specify whether Avriel Bar-Yosef, former deputy national security adviser, would be charged in the case, but described allegedly corrupt ties he had with Ganor.

All the charges were pending a pre-indictment hearing.

The high-profile investigation ensnared several close associates of Netanyahu, but the premier himself was not a suspect.

Netanyahu has been charged with fraud and breach of trust in three separate graft cases, as well as bribery in one of them. He denies wrongdoing.

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