Close associates of Israeli PM to be indicted in graft case

Close associates of Israeli PM to be indicted in graft case
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a meeting with Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa at Sao Bento Palace in Lisbon Portugal, December 5, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 05 December 2019

Close associates of Israeli PM to be indicted in graft case

Close associates of Israeli PM to be indicted in graft case
  • State prosecutor Shai Nitzan’s office said in a statement the seven would be charged with various offenses

JERUSALEM: Israel’s state prosecutor said Thursday he intends to indict seven men, including close associates of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a sweeping graft case related to a possible conflict of interest involving a $2 billion purchase of German submarines.
State prosecutor Shai Nitzan’s office said in a statement the seven would be charged with various offenses, among them bribery, money laundering and fraud, pending a hearing.
Netanyahu was questioned, but not named as a suspect, in the submarine probe, known as “file 3000.” But it roped in some of his closest aides and sparked questions about his earnings on a related German submarine sale to Egypt.
Among those to be charged were Netanyahu’s personal attorney, David Shimron, who is also his cousin. Shimron represented the German firm involved and was suspected of using his influence over the prime minister in return for a hefty cut of the deal.
Also set to be indicted is David Sharan, who once headed Netanyahu’s office. The former head of the navy has also been implicated.
After seeming to escape the submarine scandal, it was revealed that Netanyahu reportedly earned $4 million on a related German submarine sale to Egypt by owning shares in one of the German manufacturer’s suppliers. He has denied wrongdoing.
Netanyahu was recently charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate corruption cases in which he is accused of trading regulatory or legislative favors in exchange for lavish gifts and favorable news coverage.
Netanyahu has professed innocence in all three, saying the charges are trumped up by a biased justice system egged on by a liberal media.
Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, is fighting for his political life following two inconclusive elections and the likelihood of an unprecedented third in one year.
With the charges against him issued amid the political impasse, Netanyahu has driven up his rhetoric against his perceived enemies, berating law enforcement institutions and calling for “the investigators to be investigated.”


Yemen’s government vows to mitigate effects of Houthi terrorism designation

Yemen’s government vows to mitigate effects of Houthi terrorism designation
A military vehicle is stationed on the tarmac of Yemen’s Aden airport. Yemen says the Stockholm Agreement has failed to bring peace to the country. (File/AFP)
Updated 25 min 48 sec ago

Yemen’s government vows to mitigate effects of Houthi terrorism designation

Yemen’s government vows to mitigate effects of Houthi terrorism designation
  • International community urged not to surrender to ‘blackmailing and intimidation’ 
  • Stockholm Agreement has failed to bring peace, Yemen PM said

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s prime minister has vowed to address any impact on humanitarian assistance or the remittances of citizens abroad following the US move to designate the Iran-backed Houthis as a terrorist organization.

Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed also urged the international community not to surrender to “Houthi blackmailing” and intimidation.
Saeed defended his government’s strong support of the designation during a virtual interview with foreign journalists sponsored by the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies.
He said that his government had formed a committee to handle any effects on the delivery of humanitarian assistance inside Houthi-controlled areas and the remittances of Yemenis abroad.
“We are determined to prevent any impact of the decision on the Yemenis. We have formed a committee to mitigate effects of the decision,” he said.
When the US announced its intention to designate the Houthi movement as a terrorist organization last week, Yemen’s government quickly urged the US administration to put the decision in place, predicting it would stop Houthi crimes and their looting of humanitarian assistance, and would smoothe the way for peace.
Referring to the impact of the US designation on peace talks between the Yemeni government and the Houthis, Saeed said that the decision would not undermine peace efforts. He said that the Houthis would be accepted as part of the Yemeni political and social spectrum when they abandoned hard-line ideologies and embraced equality and justice.

The Yemeni government agreed to go to Stockholm for reaching a solution to stop fighting and saving the city. This model has failed.

Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed, Yemen’s prime minister

“This is an important pressure card on them and a real definition of them,” he said, adding that the Yemenis would not allow the Houthi movement to rule them.
“Yemen would not be ruled by a racist and terrorist group,” he said.
Formed under the Riyadh Agreement, Yemen’s new government’s ministers narrowly escaped death on Dec. 30 when three precision-guided missiles ripped through Aden airport shortly after their plane touched down.
The government accused the Houthis of staging the attack, saying that missile fragments collected from the airport showed that they were similar to missiles that targeted Marib city in the past.
The prime minister said that the Yemeni government had offered many concessions to reach an agreement to end the war. It had agreed to engage in direct talks with the Houthis in Stockholm in 2018 despite the fact that the Yemeni government forces were about to seize control of the Red Sea city of Hodeidah. However, the Stockholm Agreement had failed to bring peace to Yemen, he said.
“The government forces were about to capture the city within five days maximum. The Yemeni government agreed to go to Stockholm for reaching a solution to stop fighting and saving the city. This model has failed,” Saeed said.
In Riyadh, Yemen’s president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Friday appointed Ahmed Obeid bin Daghar, a former prime minister and a senior adviser to the president, as president of the Shoura Council.
Hadi also appointed Ahmed Ahmed Al-Mousai as the country’s new attorney general.
Fighting continues
Heavy fighting between Yemeni government forces and the Houthis broke out on Sunday for the third consecutive day in contested areas in the districts of Hays and Durihimi in the western province of Hodeidah. Official media said that dozens of Houthi rebels and several government troops were killed in the fighting and loyalists pushed back three assaults by Houthis in Durihimi district.
In neighboring Hays, the Joint Forces media said on Sunday that the Houthis hit government forces with heavy weapons before launching a ground attack in an attempt to seize control of new areas in the district.
The Houthis failed to make any gains and lost dozens of fighters along with several military vehicles that were burnt in the fighting, the same media outlets said. Heavy artillery shelling and land mines planted by the Houthis have killed more than 500 civilians since late 2018, local rights groups said.