Israeli Police in Germany to Collect Testimonies at Firm Tied to Submarine Affair

Thyssenkrupp senior officials will be asked about suspected corruption in Netanyahu's approval of $2-billion purchase of German submarines and naval boats

Thyssenkrupp submarines built for the Israeli navy, Kiel, Germany, April 29, 2013.
CARSTEN REHDER / AFP

Israeli police investigators arrived in Germany this week to collect testimonies from senior officials in the Thyssenkrupp Corporation that sold Israel $2-billion worth of submarines, in a deal at the center of a major corruption probe. 

The affair, otherwise known as Case 3000, is related to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's approval of the purchase of German submarines built by Thyssenkrupp, a shipbuilding firm that acquired a company in which Netanyahu held shares. The prime minister also signed off on Germany's sale of advanced submarines to Egypt, which he allegedly approved without consulting the chief of staff or defense minister.

Netanyahu was questioned but not named as a suspect in a probe related to a possible conflict of interests in the deal. Police recommended charging six suspects, including Netanyahu's lawyer and his former bureau chief, for bribery in the affair.

The economic and financial crimes unit of Lahav 433 investigators' visit was coordinated with the German government following a formal request by the Justice Ministry. The request was filed at the start of the affair, about two years ago; however, it was only recently approved.

Following the approval, investigators will gather the testimony of the senior Thyssenkrupp officials who were involved in the submarine deal about their connection to Michael Ganor, who served as Thyssenkrupp's representative in Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu climbs out of a navy submarine after it arrived in Haifa Port, Israel, on January 12, 2016.
REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

In March, Germany launched an investigation into the affair. The German prosecutor's spokesperson said that the probe was opened following "international news," but did not state which country issued such media reports. While Israel was not mentioned by name, it is likely that he referred to recent stories in the Israeli press.

Also in March, Ganor recanted testimony that he had given after turning state's evidence in the investigation and was again questioned by police.

After Ganor claimed he had never bribed anyone involved in the case, investigators confronted him with statements in previous interrogations, as well as recordings and other evidence he had previously given to police.