Year 24
Month 06
Day 07
dividerNews ArchivedividerPolice Question Netanyahu over Israel’s $2bn Submarine Deal
Police Question Netanyahu over Israel’s $2bn Submarine Deal

Premier grilled in connection with probe into alleged corruption in deal to buy craft.

 
Police have for the first time questioned Benjamin Netanyahu in connection with an investigation into alleged corruption relating to Israel’s $2bn purchase of submarines from Germany.
The prime minister was grilled for “several hours” at his official residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday, police said. Mr Netanyahu is not a suspect in the corruption case, police added. But the questioning will add to the sense of scandal surrounding the prime minister, who is embroiled in several graft probes that have prompted opposition parties to call for his resignation.
The interrogation on Tuesday focused on Israel’s deal to buy three submarines and coastal patrol craft from Germany’s ThyssenKrupp in 2016. The local representative for the company, Miki Ganor, allegedly bribed Israeli officials to secure the deal.
Mr Ganor signed an agreement last year to turn state’s witness, according to reports in Israeli media.
Several of Mr Netanyahu’s close associates have been implicated in the case, including a former national security adviser and his former chief of staff. The prime minister’s personal lawyer, David Shimron, who is also Mr Netanyahu’s cousin, acted on behalf of ThyssenKrupp’s representative and has been identified as a suspect in the probe.
Mr Shimron and the prime minister have denied any wrongdoing. ThyssenKrupp said last year that its internal investigation found no evidence of corruption in its handling of the deal. But Berlin has put the transaction on hold pending the outcome of the Israeli investigation.
Ofer Golan, Mr Netanyahu’s attorney, said in a statement that the prime minister “extensively detailed all the professional considerations that directed him to make the decisions concerning the submarines and ships and their importance to national security”.
 
“The prime minister welcomes the opportunity given to him to clarify the picture in its entirety, and put an end once and for all to the false claims stated against him by politicians and others,” the statement said.
Mr Netanyahu, his wife and his aides have been at the centre of at least four separate investigations that have dragged on for months. The prime minister, who has been in office for nine years, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, describing the probes as part of a “witch hunt”.
Police recommended in February that he be indicted in two of cases. In the first, Mr Netanyahu is accused of fraud and accepting bribes in relation to his friendships with Arnon Milchan, an Israeli-born Hollywood film-maker, and Australian billionaire James Packer.
He faces s imilar accusations in the other case, which is related to allegations he agreed to a deal with a media baron to secure positive coverage from Yedioth Ahronoth, a daily newspaper. Under the alleged arrangement, Mr Netanyahu said if the newspaper diluted its criticism of the government, the prime minister would help hurt the circulation of a free daily owned by Sheldon Adelson, a US casino magnate.
The final decision on whether he will be indicted lies with the attorney-general, who was appointed by Mr Netanyahu. The process could take months.
The prime minister and his wife Sara have also been questioned in relation to another investigation involving Bezeq, the country’s largest telecommunications group. That probe relates to allegations, denied by Mr Netanyahu, the he promoted regulatory benefits for Bezeq in exchange for favourable coverage from a news website owned by the company, according to Israeli media.
Two Netanyahu confidants have been arrested by police in the Bezeq case and turned state witnesses, according to Israeli media

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