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

  • 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.”


Liverpool face Chelsea test as Manchester clubs enter fray

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah looked in fine form as he scored a hat trick in their match against Leeds on the opening weekend. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 September 2020

Liverpool face Chelsea test as Manchester clubs enter fray

  • Pep Guardiola has shored up his defense by signing Netherlands international Nathan Ake

LONDON: Liverpool face an early test of their Premier League title defense against Chelsea on Sunday as Manchester City and Manchester United launch their quest to be champions.

Arsenal, Everton and Leicester hope to build on encouraging opening wins while Jose Mourinho needs a morale-boosting victory for Tottenham.
AFP Sport looks at some of the main talking points ahead of the action.
Chelsea’s meeting with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday has added edge after a feisty exchange between the managers over transfer spending.
The London club finished 33 points behind the champions last season but have splashed out around £200 million ($259 million) on new players.
By contrast, Liverpool have been relatively quiet, adding just Greece left-back Kostas Tsimikas so far, with Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara likely to follow.
Jurgen Klopp pointedly said Liverpool could not spend in the same way as clubs owned by “countries” and “oligarchs” such as City and Chelsea during the coronavirus pandemic.
But Frank Lampard, who also became embroiled in a spat with Liverpool’s bench in July, pointed out the Anfield side had spent big in previous seasons as they built their title-winning side.
Liverpool will be keen to cut out the defensive errors they committed in a 4-3 win against newly promoted Leeds, but Mohamed Salah looked in fine early season form as he scored a hat trick on the opening weekend.
Chelsea were also unconvincing winners against Brighton in their opening match, but Timo Werner, who chose to join the Blues despite interest from Liverpool, did impress in winning a penalty against the Seagulls.
Manchester City are the bookmakers’ favorites to land a third Premier League trophy in four seasons but face a tough opener against Wolves.
City boss Pep Guardiola has shored up his defense by signing Netherlands international Nathan Ake and has added to his rich attacking options, landing Ferran Torres from Valencia.
City scored 102 goals last season as they finished second, but lost nine matches as they surrendered their crown to Liverpool.
Both Manchester clubs are starting a week later than other sides due to their European commitments last season.
Guardiola will be painfully aware that his team must be more consistent this campaign and he cannot afford to let Klopp’s men open up an early lead.
But he will feel nervous as he travels to face Wolves, who beat City twice last season, after a disrupted pre-season.
City duo Aymeric Laporte and Riyad Mahrez tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, while Phil Foden was sent home by England after breaking coronavirus protocols while on international duty.
The challenge facing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of a match against Crystal Palace is how to improve on last season’s third-place finish.
Midfielder Bruno Fernandes was the catalyst as United put together a long unbeaten run, with a front three of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood providing the firepower.
But United have been relatively quiet in the transfer window, so far adding just midfielder Donny van de Beek from Ajax, despite persistent speculation linking them with Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.
“When we signed Bruno Fernandes, we knew we needed that kind of player — now we’ve signed Donny and he’s a type of player I felt we needed in the squad,” said Solskjaer.
Arsenal are buoyant after launching their season with a 3-0 win at newly promoted Fulham and tying down captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for three more years.
Mikel Arteta’s men, who host West Ham on Saturday, finished down in eighth place last season but ended their campaign on a high, winning the FA Cup for a record 14th time.
They followed that up by beating Liverpool on penalties in the season-opening Community Shield before the announcement on Aubameyang this week that fans had craved.
“I want to become an Arsenal legend just like Thierry (Henry), Wrighty (Ian Wright), (Tony) Adams and (Dennis) Bergkamp,” he said.