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Case 3000 indictments go forward against some PM aides

CM 10/05/2021

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The state announced on Thursday indictments in Case 3000 against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff and nominee to lead the national security council and several other senior officials, while surprisingly closing cases against close confidante and cousin David Shimron and former navy chief Eliezer Marom.
Known as the Submarine Affair, the state had previously said in December 2019 that it would likely indict all of the above listed officials.  
However, since then the suspects had pre-indictment hearings before the state attorney’s office, and Shimron and Marom convinced the prosecution to drop the charges against them.
The indicted officials include: former chief of staff David Sharan, former deputy NSC chief and nominee for NSC chief Avriel Bar Yosef, two former top aides to minister Yuval Steinitz — Rami Taib and Yitzhak Liber —  former minister Eliezer Zandberg, former Brig. Gen. (res.) Shai Brosh and former IDF official and middle man Miki Ganor.
At various stages of the case, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit was also involved since there were pieces of the case which could have led to charges against Netanyahu himself.
Ultimately, Mandelblit had Netanyahu questioned as a fact witness, but never declared him a suspect.
In November 2018, the police recommended that several of Netanyahu’s top aides be indicted for a scheme to skim off the top of large deals in which Germany’s Thyssenkrupp firm was selling Israel nuclear submarines.

Shimron had been accused of money-laundering, while Sharan stands accused of bribery, money-laundering, breach of trust and violation of campaign financing laws.
Marom had been accused of bribery, money-laundering and tax crimes.
Steinitz, who at various times served as finance minister and then as energy minister, has two aides, Taib and Liber, who are accused of serving as middle men in the bribery scheme and money-laundering and aiding in tax fraud respectively.
Steinitz himself has never been a suspect, though the prosecution statement says that Bar Yosef acted to persuade Thyssenkrupp official Walter Freitag of his and Ganor’s usefulness by obtaining a meeting for Freitag with Steinitz.
Zandburg is accused of bribery, money-laundering, breach of trust and tax crimes while he was running the Keren Hayesod fund. He was allegedly paid NIS 103,000 to advance the scheme between 2012-2016.
Ganor, who at one point was the state’s witness who helped break the case open, but later recanted his cooperation with the state, is accused of bribery, money-laundering, tax crimes and violating campaign finance laws.
He received NIS 10,402,971 from Thyssenkrupp for his success in advancing deals between Israel and the company regarding the nuclear submarines. However, according to the prosecution statement, a significant part of how he advanced the deals was by paying bribes to a variety of Israeli officials in the national security architecture.  
Notably absent from the announcement was Netanyahu confidante Yitzhak Molcho who was criminally probed, but regarding who the charges were closed already by the police. 
However, the narrative presented by the state indicates that Bar Yosef was deeply involved in the bribery scheme.
Prior to 2011, Israel had already bought five nuclear submarines from Thyssenkrupp. But starting in 2011, Israel pursued buying a sixth submarine. As of 2015, Israel started to pursue buying three more submarines, to bring the number to nine. All of this occurred during the time of the scheme by Ganor.
Regarding Marom, the prosecution statement in 2019 had said that he received NIS 557,000 in bribes from Ganor between 2014-2016.
Allegedly, Ganor paid Marom for furthering the scheme in his role as chief of the navy, while trying to cover-up the payments by only paying Marom after he retired from the navy and by funneling payments through straw companies controlled by the two men.
They also forged documents as if to show Marom had provided legitimate consulting services.
Starting in 2014 and after, Ganor allegedly paid Bar Yosef NIS 420,000 for the deputy national security council advisor’s role in getting Ganor appointed to his role in 2009 as well as facilitating Ganor’s deals via the prime minister’s office and the Knesset.
The NIS 420,000 came after Ganor refused Bar Yosef’s initial demand for 1 million euros.
To cover up the illegalities, the two forged documents alleging Bar Yosef had provided legitimate consulting services.
In addition, Bar Yosef and Ganor often used Brig. Gen. (res.) Shai Brosh as an intermediary.
From 2013-2016, Ganor also sent payments of NIS 35,000 and NIS 58,000 to Sharan for advancing Ganor and the scheme’s interests both as chief-of-staff for Steinitz and later as chief-of-staff for Netanyahu.
The NIS 58,000 was sent to Sharan through Liber.
Ganor brought Shimron into the case to sign onto various banking documents which he wanted to avoid personally signing on due to various legal issues.
Without Shimron, Ganor could not have promoted a $100 million investment of the Germany-Israel Fund in a Swiss bank. He needed to disguise his involvement in the deal which implicated a conflict of interest between him and the chairman of the fund, Atalia Rosenbaum.
Shimron signed the banking documents and was due to transfer 80% of two payments (one for $40,000 and one for $100,000) he received from the bank to Ganor.
While Shimron did transfer most of the $40,000 to Ganor – after taking a 20% commission – he was unable to transfer most of the $100,000 to Ganor due to suspicions by some of the banks involved.
Initially, Shimron and Ganor were accused of presenting false documents to the involved banks to facilitate the funds transfer.
Ganor served as a state’s witness for an extended period, but recanted from cooperating after he realized that even as a state’s witness, most of his funds overseas had been frozen and were not being protected by Israeli police.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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