Ex-head of Israel's Navy SEALs Arrested in Submarine Corruption Affair

Former cabinet minister Eliezer Sandberg was arrested Monday on suspicion of bribery involving the controversial purchase of submarines and warships from Germany

Former Israeli navy commando head Shai Brosh, 2012.
Former Israeli navy commando head Shai Brosh, 2012. Tomer Appelbaum

The retired rear admiral in the Israel Navy who was arrested Sunday on suspicion of fraud, receiving a bribe and breach of trust was identified publicly on Tuesday morning as Shai Brosh, former head of the navy's elite Shayetet 13 commando unit.

Brosh was detained as part of the ongoing Israel Police investigation into the purchase of German submarines and other watercraft, known as Case 3000, that involves Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The former rear admiral was arrested based on information provided by state's witness Michael Ganor, an Israeli representative of German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

The police suspect that Ganor proposed that he and Brosh establish a joint company, but due to reasons dependent on Ganor, that never happened.

Brosh allegedly insisted on compensation from Ganor, and the two drafted a contract. According to Ganor's testimony, the police suspect the entire transaction was fictional and intended only to get Brosh money in exchange for making use of his contacts.

In 2010, then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak and then-Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz agreed to appoint Brosh as the chairman of IMI Systems (formerly Israel Military Industries), replacing Avner Raz. Brosh had served on IMI Systems' board of directors in the past. In addition to his time as head of Shayetet 13, he also headed the Naval Intelligence Division.

In a statement released at the time, Brosh, was praised for having been decorated with the Medal of Distinguished Service in the Yom Kippur War. Brosh then worked in consulting, establishing and managing security systems for international bodies, including securing facilities and beaches to set up small combat units. IMI Systems' board of directors opposed and successfully blocked Brosh's appointment.

Former cabinet minister Eliezer Sandberg was arrested Monday on suspicion of bribery involving the controversial submarines purchase.

Sandberg, a former science and infrastructure minister who goes by the nickname Moodi, is also suspected of brokering a bribe to a public servant, issuing false tax receipts, fraud and breach of trust. Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court ordered his detention extended by two days.

Former Deputy National Security Adviser Avriel Bar-Yosef and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz’s media adviser, Rami Taib, were also questioned Monday in the case.

Taib is suspected of accepting bribes, brokering a bribe to a public servant, conspiring to commit a crime and money laundering. Steinitz has not responded to the developments.

The scandal involves allegations of bribery in a more-than-billion-dollar submarine deal between Israel and Germany. Alleged to have bribed high-ranking defense officials to advance the deal, Ganor signed an agreement in July to turn state's evidence in the case.

In exchange for testifying against other suspects, he will serve one year in prison and be fined 10 million shekels ($2.8 million). David Shimron, Netanyahu’s personal lawyer, adviser and cousin, also served as Ganor's attorney.