Court Keeps Submarine Graft Suspects Behind Bars

A court on Thursday ordered two high-level figures suspected in a massive graft scandal over submarine purchases to remain behind bars for several days, as a judge said investigators were continuing to uncover the scandal.

The detention of both former National Security Council deputy head Avriel Bar-Yosef and businessman Miki Ganor was extended until Monday over the case, in which investigators suspect bribes were paid out in connection with a decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to buy three submarines from the Germany company ThyssenKrupp, despite opposition from the Israeli Defense Ministry.

Netanyahu is not suspected in the case but his personal lawyer, David Shimron, has been put under house arrest and has been questioned for several days straight.

Bar-Yosef, who played a central role in recommending that Israel buy the submarines, is suspected of bribery, conspiracy to commit a crime, fraud, breach of trust and money laundering.

Ganor, the Israeli representative of ThyssenKrupp, is suspected of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit a crime.

According to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, Ganor stood to make 10 to 30 million euros from what the paper estimated was a 1.5 billion euro deal.

Both Ganor and Bar-Yosef underwent a fourth round of questioning Thursday at the police investigation unit Lahav 433 in Lod.

A police representative told the Ynet news site that Ganor had been under interrogation since his arrest on Monday through to 3 a.m Thursday.

At the remand hearing, Judge Einat Ron said there had been “developments in the investigation on many subjects” as the result of materials gathered since the suspects’ arrests, which added to a wealth of information collected before the arrests.

She rejected the claim of Bar-Yosef’s defense that he should be released because so much information has already been published that it would be hard for him to interfere with the investigation.

“I’m pleased to say that most of the materials that have been gathered by the police are still in the police files, where they should be, and have not been publicized by the media,” she said.

She added that the police still had much to investigate — dozens of actions, in Bar-Yosef’s case and “at least 50 actions” in Ganor’s.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ordered the police to formally look into the submarine affair — dubbed Case 3000 — in November 2016, after accusations surfaced that Netanyahu may have been swayed to purchase the vessels by business ties that Shimron had with ThyssenKrupp. Late last year, Channel 10 News revealed that Shimron had also served as an adviser to Ganor.

Shimron was questioned for the fourth time on Thursday having had his house arrest extended on Wednesday until Friday. Under the terms of his arrest, he is forbidden from any contact with the prime minister.

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