Israeli Prime Minister’s Attorney Probed for Fraud

By - July 12, 2017
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The personal attorney of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being proved by Israeli law enforcement for possible fraud, as well as several other parties high in the Israeli government.

The Israeli police on July 11 arrested the former head of the Israeli Navy, Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom. At issue is the the vice admiral’s role in the ‘Submarine Affair,’ which has been in the news lately in Israel.

The ‘Submarine Affair,’ also called ‘Case 3000’ involves alleged corruption regarding the purchase of three submarines by the Israeli government from the ThyssenKrupp company in Germany. The submarine deal with millions of US dollars has been the focus of an Israeli police investigation for several months.

The German National Security Council did approve the purchase of the three submarines by Israel, but the contract does have a clause that allows Germany to nix the deal if any criminal offenses are proven out of the current investigation.

Israeli law enforcement sources stated that Marom is suspected of having influenced ThyssenKrupp over a bid from a firm in South Korea regarding the submarine purchase, as well as gas installation protection ships.

Marom was supposed to have been questioned last week with several other suspects. But he requested a postponement until this week. The police also have been looking into possible corruption and wire fraud involving the prime minister’s personal attorney, David Shimron.

Early this week, a judge extended the time in custody for three other possible suspects in the suspected crime. These include Michael Ganor, a defense minister turned business man, who was a representative of ThyssenKrupp in the submarine deal.

Another was Avriel, Bar-Yosef, a deputy head of the Israeli national security council. He played an important role in the research that went into approving the deal. Ronen Shemer, who is an attorney who works with Ganor, also is staying in custody.

When the submarine scandal first broke, it was reported in the Israeli media that Marom was thought to be involved because he allegedly had tried to have General Yeshayau Bareket fired. This would have paved the way for Ganor to take over.

Police have also been investigating criminal allegations against Shimron, who allegedly was lobbying defense officials for ThyssenKrupp in the submarine deal. He was under house arrest in Israel as of this week.

Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has ordered a full investigation into the possible submarine scandal. He noted that police had collected enough evidence to raise strong suspicions that some involved in the affair had engaged in various forms of public corruption.

The former defense minister of Israel, Moshe Yaalon, threatened to go public recently if Case 3000 did not lead to an indictment. He also noted in public that while he was in office, he had tried to slow down the planned purchase. After Yaalon resigned in 2016, however, Netanyahu started negotiating again.

Netanyahu has not been suspected of any crime at this time related to the submarine affair. His office has denied all of the allegations repeatedly. His office also stated that the purchases were done per the recommendations of the Defense and Navy ministries.

However, police did state last week that they would call in Netanyahu for questioning, and ask the prime minister why he made the choice to appoint Bar-Yosef as the chief of the NSC in 2016. This occurred despite Bar-Yosef working in a conflict of interest with various businessmen in Germany.

Public Corruption Common in Many Countries

Public corruption is a very common problem, both in the US and Israel. Public corruption refers to a broad range of white collar crimes that involves the breach of public trust, and/or an abuse of power that is committed by public officials. Corruption can occur when the person gets a bribe, or attempts to solicit a bribe.

All states and most countries have laws outlawing public corruption as well as conspiracy. But federal corruption charges in the US are most likely when the perpetrator is part of the federal government, or when there is a conspiracy to commit public corruption that goes across state lines.

Federal corruption charges are considered among the most serious that are prosecuted by those in federal law enforcement.

Overview of Federal Corruption Laws

Federal corruption laws outlaw any US government official from asking for, soliciting, accepting or agreeing to receive an item of value in return for changing the performance of their official duties. Corruption is related to bribery. This is another federal charge where the person offers a public official something of value to get an advantage in public matters.

Many US state laws feature both felony level and misdemeanor level corruption charges. Federal corruption charges can be made worse with state corruption charges, which typically are in the state where the crime occurred.

Corruption punishment will depend upon the value of the services or products that were obtained by the corrupt party. Typical corruption sentences are as long as 20 years, with a minimum sentence of four years.

Another related crime to corruption is graft. This is where access to public funds is obtained by illegal means. Corruption charges can also involve graft charge, if the corrupt person solicits access to public funds during the act of corruption.

Fraud is another crime often related to corruption; it is suspected in the Israeli submarine affair. Fraud involves crimes that focus on intentional deception for some type of material gain. Wire fraud is concerned with using telecommunications products and services to commit fraud. These include the Internet, phone, radio and TV. Wire fraud is distinct from other forms of fraud, including mail fraud, telemarketing fraud, and fraud by false statements.

The majority of fraud cases in the US cross state lines. Thus most fraud cases are prosecuted under federal law, especially wire fraud. Federal law also has special exceptions for any type of wire fraud that involves a state of emergency or disaster. The punishments for this type of fraud are more severe.