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Israeli rep for ThyssenKrupp may become state witness in corruption probe

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a ceremony following the arrival of the INS Tanin, a Dolphin AIP class submarine, to a naval base in the northern city of Haifa, Israel, Tuesday, September 23, 2014
AP images/AMIR COHEN
The ongoing probe involves the government's purchase of German submarines and Netanyahu's inner circle

Miki Ganor, an Israeli representative of the German submarine company ThyssenKrupp, may testify as a state witness in a corruption probe involving members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner circle, Channel 2 reported Monday.

Six suspects have been taken in for questioning by Israeli police for their alleged involvement in the ongoing scandal regarding the government's purchase of three German submarines.

The so-called submarine affair centers on allegations that Netanyahu's personal lawyer, David Shimron, pushed for multi-billion shekel deals in favor of German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp, which is his client in Israel.

Shimron was released to house arrest recently. Scrutiny over the 2014 submarine deal surfaced in November with a Channel 10 investigative report that Shimron once worked as an intermediary for Miki Ganor, the Israeli employee of ThyssenKrupp.

The prime minister is also expected to be asked to testify in the case.

The detained are suspected of several crimes including taking bribes, tax offenses, money laundering and corruption. One of the detained has been named as Avriel Bar-Yosef, who Netanyahu nominated to serve as Israeli national security adviser but declined after he was suspected of bribery, money laundering, fraud and breach of trust by Israeli police.

Netanyahu himself is currently not suspected of any crime in relation to the affair but one of the detained allegedly has close ties to the prime minister while another is reportedly a high ranking security official.

According to a previous report in Israeli daily Haaretz, Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's former defense minister, told police Netanyahu helped ThyssenKrupp – the German conglomerate making deals with Israel to the tune of billions of dollars – circumvent the regular procurement process.

Ya'alon had earlier claimed that he "vociferously objected” to Israel purchasing the submarines, and that reports that reports that an Israeli attorney known for close ties to Netanyahu was appointed to the director's board of a subsidiary firm linked to the ThyssenKrupp, were 'very disturbing'."

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