Six individuals, including a former deputy head of the National Security Council were questioned Monday in connection with an ongoing investigation into corruption allegations surrounding the purchase of German submarines for the Israeli Navy.
Police said the group were questioned under caution as part of a joint operation involving police, the Israel Tax Authority and the Authority for the Prohibition of Money Laundering and Terror Financing. The affair, which has been labeled Case 3000, is tied to allegations that David Shimron, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal attorney, tried to use undue authority to pressure the defense ministry into purchasing submarines built by German shipbuilder ThyssenKryupp over the objections of the IDF.
Media reports named one of the men questioned as Avriel Bar-Yosef, a former deputy head of the National Security Council. Netanyahu appointed Bar-Yosef as head of the NSC in February 2016, but he later announced that he would not take up the position and shortly afterward was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes from a German businessman with a vested interest in Israel’s natural gas reserves while serving on a committee formulating policy on exports of those reserves. Bar-Yosef served on the NSC from 2009 to 2015.
The reports added that among the other individuals questioned was a close associate of Netanyahu.
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit announced a criminal investigation into the affair in February, but said that the prime minister was not a suspect.
According to German media, Germany’s National Security Council approved the sale of three new submarines to Israel at the end of June in a deal worth $1.5 billion. The reports said Berlin had reserved the right to scrap the deal should any corruption be proved.
Israel already has five German built Dolphin class submarines and a sixth is in the works.