Tel Aviv (MEM) – A state witness has told investigators that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyer would have been paid $9 million if he ensured a submarine defence deal went ahead.
David Shimron, who is also Netanyahu’s cousin, is suspected of lobbying defence officials whilst also standing to personally profit from the deal, according to the Times of Israel.
Miki Ganor, a former agent for the German submarine company ThyssenKryupp, yesterday appeared to confirm suspicions after he told police that Shimron was to receive a 20 per cent share of Ganor’s own commission, in addition to legal fees.
The statement contradicts Shimron’s previous assurance that there was no conflict of interest in regards to his role in the case and that all of his actions were in accordance with the law.
Ganor and Shimron are two of six defendants that were detained earlier this month on suspicion of fraud offenses, tax evasion and bribery.
The “submarine affair” pertains to Israel’s decision to buy three new submarine from ThyssenKrupp, the supplier of Israel’s existing five-strong, nuclear-capable fleet, and the additional purchase of four patrol ships. In total, the deal is estimated to be worth $1.5 billion.
Netanyahu himself is expected to testify as a witness at some point during court proceedings.
This is one of several high level corruption cases currently underway in Israel. Netanyahu has also been questioned as a suspect in two previous criminal cases; one involving gifts exchanged with prominent businessmen, and the other in regards to his attempts to bribe an Israeli newspaper in return for more positive media coverage.
This post was originally written for and published by Middle East Monitor.