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Israel DM calls for new probe into Netanyahu corruption case

Benny Gantz, Blue and White party leader attends a press conference after failing to form a goverment on November 20, 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. [Amir Levy/Getty Images]
Benny Gantz, Blue and White party leader attends a press conference after failing to form a goverment on November 20, 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

Israeli Defence Minister and leader of Blue and White coalition, Benny Gantz, on Saturday called for a new investigation into Tel Aviv's purchase of submarines from Germany in a case which sees former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing charges of corruption.

Known as Case 3000, it revolves around allegations of a bribery in Israel's multi-billion-shekel purchase of naval vessels, including submarines and ships, from German shipbuilder Thyssenkrupp, the Times of Israel reported.

The case also involves the sale of two Dolphin-class submarines and two anti-submarine warships by Germany to Egypt, allegedly approved by Netanyahu, who did not consult or notify Israel's then-defence minister and army chief of staff.

Israel's Channel 12 reported that Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked told Gantz that his new initiative is outside the scope of the coalition government agreements.

While Channel 13 said Justice Minister and leader of the right-wing New Hope party, Gideon Sa'ar, has criticised Gantz, saying "the urgency and lack of regular consultations is unacceptable".

Netanyahu is entangled in four political scandals: Case 1000 which involves allegations that the PM and his wife accepted illegal gifts from businessmen; Case 2000 which accuses Netanyahu of attempting to buy favourable newspaper coverage; Case 3000, also known as the "submarine scandal" would have seen Israel purchase naval vessels and submarines from a German firm with millions of shekels allegedly "skimmed" off the top of the deals for personal profit; and Case 4000, in which a close associate of Netanyahu is suspected of providing confidential information to Israel's largest telecoms company.

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