The State Attorney's Office has decided to indict suspects in the German submarines affair for bribery and other offenses, subject to a hearing. State Attorney Shai Nitzan, who finishes his term in office next week, announced today that he had adopted the recommendation by the State Attorney's Office taxation and economics department and the Deputy State Attorney (criminal affairs) to indict most of the suspects in this affair, which has caused tumult in Israel.
According to the announcement by the State Attorney's Office, Michael (Miki) Ganor, an agent of German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp; former Israel navy commander Eliezer Marom; former chief of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau David Sharan; former government minister Eliezer (Modi) Zandberg; Adv. David Shimron; Rami Taib, a former political advisor of Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz; and communications consultant Yitzhak (Tzachi) Lieber, will be indicted for their part in Case 3000, subject to a hearing. Ganor signed an agreement to serve as a state witness, but retracted his statement.
Shimron, a cousin and former legal representative of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was investigated on suspicion of serving as intermediary for a bribe. The State Attorney's Office decided, however, to indict him only for money laundering, not for bribery.
Ganor is accused of offering a bribe, paying a bribe, money laundering, tax offenses, and violations of the Political Parties Law. Marom is accused of accepting a bribe, money laundering, and tax offenses. Sharan is accused of accepting a bribe, breach of trust, money laundering, and violating the Political Parties Law. Zandberg is accused of accepting a bribe, money laundering, fraud, breach of trust, and tax offenses. Shimron is accused of money laundering. Taib is accused of serving as a go-between for a bribe. Lieber is accused of money laundering and abetting tax offenses. The suspects' legal representatives have been notified, and a list of the suspected offenses has been sent to them. A decision about other suspects in the case will be made separately.
Over the years, Israel procured five submarines from the shipyard controlled by ThyssenKrupp. Israel was granted an option to buy a sixth submarine in the future at a predetermined price. In April 2011, a ministerial committee approved in principle the exercise of this option. A year later Israel signed a contract with ThyssenKrupp for the exercise of the option. At the same time, an agreement with signed with ThyssenKrupp for conducting a "feasibility study for submarines 7-9." In 2015, the National Security Council expedited its consideration of the option of buying three more submarines. In October 2016, the cabinet decided to buy the submarines, after which agreements were reached by the Israeli and German governments on all of the details in the memorandum of understanding concerning the procurement of three more submarines. At the same time, in May 2015, Israel signed a contract with ThyssenKrupp for four patrol boats.
The accusations in the indictments chiefly concern Ganor's maneuverings to become ThyssenKrupp's Israel representative, and his alleged corrupt dealings aimed at securing the submarine and patrol boat contracts for the German company. Brigadier General (res.) Avriel Bar-Yosef, whom Ganor knew from their days in the Israel Navy, and who was deputy head of the National Security Council, is alleged to have used his contacts with ThyssenKrupp, together with Marom, to arrange for Ganor to meet a senior ThyssenKrupp executive in Israel, a meeting from which the company's existing Israel representative, Yeshayahu Barkat, was excluded. Ganor was eventually appointed to replace Barkat, and is alleged to have paid Bar-Yosef and Marom for their part in gaining him the appointment, and for assisting in promoting the deals with ThyssenKrupp in their official capacities. Bar-Yosef is not among those charged in today's indictment, although the police have recommended that he should be prosecuted.
Ganor is believed to have gained commissions totaling 10,402,971 euros from the submarine procurement deals He is alleged to have bribed Sharan to arrange contacts with officials and ministers, chief among them Yuval Steinitz (who is not suspected of wrongdoing). Zandberg is accused of accepting a bribe in return for arranging a meeting between Ganor and Eyal Haimovsky, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief of staff at the time, to promote ThyssenKrupp's interests, and thereby his own. Shimron is being charged in a separate affair of taking payment from Ganor for assistance in the investment of funds from the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development in a Credit Suisse bank account. Taib and Lieber are accused of acting as accessories to the alleged corrupt dealings.
Shimron, Zandberg and Marom have issued strong denials of the charges against them.
Presumption of innocence - The legal proceedings involving the suspects in the submarines affair are still ongoing. The suspects have been summoned to a hearing at the State Attorney's Office in which they will be given the opportunity to persuade the State Attorney not to indict them. They deny the offenses attributed to them, and are entitled to a presumption of innocence.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 5, 2019
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