Gantz orders new investigation into submarine scandal after previous failed – .

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Gantz orders new investigation into submarine scandal after previous failed – .


Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered a new investigation into the so-called submarine scandal on Saturday evening, after his previous attempt to open an investigation was quashed by the attorney general to avoid conflict with his own investigation criminal on the case.

This new investigation must receive government approval. It was not immediately clear whether the motion would receive the necessary broad support. Spokesmen for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told The Times of Israel the issue would be discussed within the government. Anonymous coalition officials told Channel 12 that Gantz’s proposal was petty and had not been coordinated with the rest of the government.

The submarine case, also known as Case 3000, revolves around allegations of a massive program of corruption in Israel’s purchase of billions of shekels of warships – submarines and large missile ships – to the German shipbuilder Thyssenkrupp. The scandal also involved the sale of two Dolphin-class submarines and two anti-submarine warships by Germany to Egypt, which were allegedly approved by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu without consulting or notify then Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and the IDF Chief of Staff. Gantz. Israel had long been given an unofficial veto over such sales by Germany.

While several of Netanyahu’s close associates have been indicted in the case, implicating suspicion that Israeli officials were bribed to ensure Thyssenkrupp wins the contract, the former prime minister was not directly involved and the attorney general said he was not a suspect.

Netanyahu, who was accused by former Defense Minister Yaalon of leading the alleged inappropriate efforts to buy the submarines from Thyssenkrupp, has already blocked a number of efforts to form a parliamentary commission of inquiry.

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Last year, Gantz announced that his ministry was launching an internal investigation into the scandal, a move that did not require external approval. However, that investigation quickly collapsed as the attorney general expressed fears that it would interfere with his own criminal investigation, which resulted in a number of indictments last month.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (left) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the 24th Knesset swearing-in ceremony on April 6, 2021 (Knesset spokesman)

“Following the staff work that has taken place in recent months, Defense Minister Gantz has decided to present to the government a recommendation for the formation of a state commission of inquiry into the purchase of sub – sailors and ships, ”his office said.

As a state inquiry, the commission would have the power to subpoena witnesses, forcing them to appear for questioning – something its previous ministerial inquiry was unable to do.

Gantz’s office said it would continue preparatory work on the proposal shortly and present it to the attorney general in the coming days.

“I expect that this time all government ministers will support the formation of a commission. We cannot leave open questions and we must draw general conclusions. A criminal investigation is not enough for the worst security scandal in the history of the State of Israel, ”his office said.

A man climbs into a fake submarine during a protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, October 14, 2020 (AP / Oded Balilty)

In addition to reported internal criticism within the coalition, Gantz’s announcement was also quickly condemned by Netanyahu’s Likud party, which claimed the defense minister had in the past said it was not necessary. to open an independent investigation into the submarine scandal.

“Gantz continues his indiscriminate pursuit of Netanyahu and Likud,” the party said in a statement.

The defense minister’s Blue and White party fought back, accusing the former prime minister of frustrating previous attempts to investigate the scandal.

“The former prime minister and Likud prevented the formation of a state commission of inquiry over the past year, and now the time has come to bring the matter to full scrutiny, so that the security Israel is never endangered, ”Blue and White wrote. on Twitter.

Last month, prosecutors filed charges of corruption, money laundering and tax offenses in Tel Aviv District Court on Monday against Miki Ganor, who was Thyssenkrupp’s local agent. Avriel Bar-Yosef, once chosen by Netanyahu to head Israel’s National Security Council, has been charged with corruption and breach of trust.

In addition, indictments for corruption, money laundering and breach of trust have been filed against Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, David Sharan; Eliezer Sandberg, former president of the fundraising organization Keron Hayesod (United Appeal of Israel); Brig. General (res.) Shay Brosh, former commander of the Israeli navy commando unit; Rami Taib, former political adviser to former Likud Minister Yuval Steinitz; and media advisor Yitzhak Liber.

Along with the indictments, cases were filed against David Shimron, Netanyahu’s cousin and former personal lawyer, as well as former Israeli naval commander Eliezer Marom, after prosecutors accepted their defenses in their respective pre-trial hearings. ‘charge.

In October, the prosecution told the High Court of Justice that it believed there was no justification for opening a criminal investigation into Netanyahu into the case.

Netanyahu is already on trial for fraud and breach of trust in three other cases, and corruption in one of them. He denies any wrongdoing and claims to be the victim of an attempted political coup involving police, prosecutors, the left-wing opposition and the media.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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