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Israel: Netanyahu ex-attorney to be charged with bribery, money laundering

Thousands of people gather to protest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over alleged corruption at the Habima Square in Tel-Aviv, Israel on December 30, 2017 [Kobi Wolf / Anadolu Agency]
Thousands of people gather to protest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over alleged corruption in Tel-Aviv, Israel on 30 December 2017 [Kobi Wolf/Anadolu Agency]

Israel announced that it will likely indict seven high-ranking former Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's former attorney David Shimron, with bribery and money laundering in connection with the $2 billion submarine bribery scandal.

Among those facing charges in the case, known as Case 3000, are former chief of the Israeli Navy, Eliezer Marom, David Sharan – a former Netanyahu adviser who once headed Netanyahu's office – and former minister Eliezer Sandberg.

The case involves the decision to acquire submarines and boats from German shipbuilder Thyssenkrupp Corporation in 2016, which led to an inquiry followed by a criminal investigation.

It involves two deals signed by Israel and the German shipbuilder Thyssenkrupp, one involving the purchase of three submarines for €1.5 billion ($1.67 billion), the other involving the purchase of missile boats for protecting gas drilling platforms, a deal worth €430 million ($477 million).

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Prosecutors allege Israeli officials were bribed to push the massive deals.

Israeli police announced in November 2018 it had enough evidence to charge a number of suspects, including Shimron, who is also Netanyahu's cousin.

Shimron represented the German firm involved and was suspected of using his influence over the prime minister in return for a major cut in the deal.

Miki Ganor, a former agent in Israel for Thyssenkrupp, who is being charged with bribery, money laundering and tax offenses, is suspected of paying Shimron a total of $75,400 to promote the Israeli naval purchases from Thyssenkrupp.

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He also allegedly paid Sandberg more than $27,900 for advancing Ganor's interests as the shipbuilder's representative in Israel.

Some have called it the largest suspected graft scandal in the country's history.

The indictments will be handed down pending a hearing, according the Times of Israel.

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