10:35 GMT26 February 2021
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    The Israeli prime minister is already facing charges in three criminal cases and has been fighting them in court since 2019. However, several criminal allegations against him have not yet turned into indictments. Could a request for US probe be related to one of those claims?

    A non-profit organisation, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, has hired an American law firm, Miller & Chevalier, to help get whistleblower status in the US, which allows entities reporting law violations to get a percentage of the funds the government seizes over uncovered illegal activities, the newspaper Haaretz reported. The law firm, which focuses on tax, international law, and white-collar crimes will reportedly help the NPO communicate with the US authorities in connection with alleged violations of US law that concern Israel.

    According to the newspaper, the good governance NPO will be contacting the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over an unidentified corruption case in Israel. The Israeli organisation reportedly wants the US authorities to conduct a probe into the alleged violations of US law in the Jewish state. The Movement for Quality Government has so far declined to comment on the Haaretz report.

    People protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's alleged corruption while Israel is under a lockdown as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Jerusalem January 30, 2021. REUTERS/Corinna Kern
    © REUTERS / CORINNA KERN
    People protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's alleged corruption while Israel is under a lockdown as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Jerusalem January 30, 2021.

    It is unclear what corruption case the NPO wants Washington to probe. American law allows the country's authorities to prosecute certain violations of US laws abroad, specifically related to corruption affecting foreign governments. Despite a lack of solid evidence to make an educated guess, Haaretz suggested the alleged case the NPO is seeking to probe might be related to either the so-called Case 3000 against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or the claims of the latter's improper ties to his cousin Nathan Milikowsky, who lives in the US.

    Criminal Accusations Against Netanyahu

    Netanyahu is currently fighting three criminal cases involving charges of breach of trust, bribery, and fraud. However, some of the accusations against him were not included in the November 2019 indictment by the country's Attorney General Mandelblit, who initiated the bombshell legal battle. Netanyahu pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

    Among them is Case 3000, which claims the Israeli prime minister neglected recommendations by the country's military and peddled a decision to buy three Dolphin-class submarines and four Sa'ar 6-class corvettes from Germany. The allegations claim Netanyahu did so to benefit ThyssenKrup and several people involved in the deal, including the prime minister's cousin and personal lawyer David Shimron, who represented ThyssenKrup in Israel.

    The Israeli prime minister was also accused of making illegal gains from buying shares of the American steel company, Seadrift Coke, from his cousin Nathan Milikowsky at a discount only to sell it at a huge profit, when the company merged with the corporation GrafTech International, where Milikowsky became a director. Both cases are decried as evidence of the Israeli prime minister's corruption by the Movement for Quality Government, who have been seeking to open a criminal probe with the Israeli High Court of Justice.

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    Tags:
    whistleblower, probe, criminal case, US, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel
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