Israel arrests six in submarine corruption probe
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