(March 20, 2019 / JNS) In a surprise legal twist in “Case 3000,” in which many of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s close associates are accused of taking bribes in exchange for the successful purchase by the Israeli Navy of submarines made by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp ship-building company, the lead witness against the prime minister is now recanting his testimony.
Miki Ganor, a former Israeli agent for ThyssenKrupp, previously admitted to bribing several senior Israeli officials in order to secure the ThyssenKrupp contracts with the Israeli Defense Ministry, which were worth billions of dollars.
However, on Tuesday night, Ganor reportedly made a visit to Israeli Police headquarters in Lod and told the Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit that he wanted to amend his testimony to state that he did not bribe anyone.
Ganor was subsequently interrogated by Lahav’s National Economic Crimes Unit for possible obstruction of justice and was arrested.
Reports indicate that prosecutors are now threatening to remove him as a state’s witness, a move that would strip him of all immunity in the case. Prosecutors had agreed not to charge Ganor with corruption, but to settle for tax charges, and a punishment of a year in jail and a NIS 10 million (about $2.8 million).
Ganor’s testimony was fundamental in launching the corruption investigation, which is seen as the biggest in the history of the Israeli defense industry.
Judicial officials said the retraction would not impede the prosecution from using his previous testimony and the evidence he has provided them.
Ganor was taken to a hospital soon after his arrest and reported to be in severe mental distress.
Police have said sufficient evidence exists to indict Netanyahu’s personal lawyer, David Shimron; former direct of Netanyahu’s bureau David Sharan; and former head of the Israeli navy Eliezer Maron. Others who could possibly be indicted include Brig. Gen (res.) Shay Brosh; former deputy national security adviser Brig. Gen (res.) Avriel Bar-Yosef; and former minister Eliezer Sandberg.