Is­rael ar­rests six in submarine cor­rup­tion probe

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

TEL AVIV: Is­raeli author­i­ties de­tained a sev­enth per­son in con­nec­tion with a cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion connected to the bil­lion-dol­lar pur­chase of three Ger­man sub­marines, po­lice said.

Miki Ganor, the Is­raeli sales part­ner for Ger­many in­dus­trial gi­ant ThyssenKrupp Ma­rine Sys­tems (TKMS), was taken into cus­tody one day af­ter six oth­ers were de­tained on sus­pi­cion of money laun­der­ing, fraud and other of­fences, a po­lice spokesman said.

The case cen­tres on the pur­chase of three sub­marines from TKMS, the largest submarine maker in western Europe.

The deal, ap­proved by the Is­raeli govern­ment on Oc­to­ber 26, was re­port­edly worth about $1.7 bil­lion (R23.03bn), though the Is­raeli Defence Min­istry de­clined to com­ment on ex­act fig­ures.

The Ger­man Finance Min­istry has in the past said these Dol­phin-class sub­marines each cost about $635 mil­lion.

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu re­port­edly pushed for the deal de­spite ob­jec­tions from defence and mil­i­tary of­fi­cials, and Ganor worked on the deal with David Shim­ron, the prime min­is­ter’s per­sonal le­gal coun­sel.

At the heart of the case is whether Ne­tanyahu knew about and used Shim­ron’s ties to Thyssenkrupp. The Jus­tice Min­istry re­it­er­ated in Fe­bru­ary that Ne­tanyahu was not a sus­pect in the case.

Shim­ron and Ne­tanyahu have re­jected the al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion. Ne­tanyahu has em­pha­sised that he had only been guided by se­cu­rity con­sid­er­a­tions when buy­ing the sub­marines.

Ger­many bud­geted some 570 mil­lion (R8.8bn) through 2027 as a sub­sidy for the pur­chase, the fed­eral govern­ment re­ported in Fe­bru­ary. The Ger­man govern­ment has his­tor­i­cally en­gaged closely with Is­rael on se­cu­rity is­sues, in ac­knowl­edge­ment of its re­spon­si­bil­ity for the wartime geno­cide of Jews by the Nazis. – dpa

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