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Will submarine deal sink Netanyahu's ship?

A scandal over a submarine deal has focused the public's attention and that of Israel's attorney general on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s relations with two of his lawyers.
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - APRIL 17: In this handout image provided by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat watched by Netanyahu's personal envoy, attorney Yitzhak Molcho and the head of Palestinian Authority General Intelligence Majad Faraj during their meeting on April 17, 2012 in Jerusalem, Israel. At the end of the meeting, it was agreed to release the following statement: "Israel and the Palestinian Aut
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An Oct. 31 Al-Monitor article revealed that a deal was underway for Israel to purchase three submarines from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, a German ship-building giant. This past week, the deal turned into a political and media scandal leading to public demands that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit investigate for criminal facets of the deal. The latest twist in the plot was the disclosure Nov. 15 on Channel 10 that the attorney representing the German shipyard in Israel for the legal aspects of the deal is none other than David Shimron — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’ private attorney and relative.

Shimron is also the law partner of Yitzhak Molcho, who together own a thriving legal firm that has recently become a “necessary way station” for anyone trying to cut through the red tape of Israeli regulations. Now it turns out that in concurrence with Netanyahu’s initiative to acquire another three submarines for the Israeli navy, Netanyahu’s personal attorney and cousin is receiving payments from Miki Ganor, the Israeli agent who represents ThyssenKrupp in Israel. The affair arouses suspicion of a major conflict of interest on the part of the prime minister’s attorney and perhaps even Netanyahu. People familiar with the close, intensive relationship between the two cousins cannot imagine that Netanyahu did not know that his attorney was representing the shipyard or that the attorney did not know that Netanyahu was pushing a new submarine deal.

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