Veteran Israeli Businessman Samy Katsav Questioned Over Bribery Allegations

The leading defense entrepreneur was released to house arrest as the probe of his Israel Shipyards expands

Israeli businessman Samy Katsav.
David Bachar

Samy Katsav, a veteran Israeli businessman who made his fortune in the defense industries, was questioned by police on Monday and released to house arrest, his publicly traded Gold Bond Group said on Wednesday.

Katsav, who controls 20.25% of Gold Bond, which is the parent company of Israel Shipyards and Katsav acts as the shipyard’s chairman.

Police called him in for question shortly after three senior Israel Shipyards officials were detained by the police and the Israeli Tax Authority on Sunday in connection with the suspected bribing African officials to advance the $25 million sale around 10 years ago of two Shaldag patrol boats to the Nigerian navy.

Israel Shipyards builds warships and services and maintains vessels of all kinds as well as undertaking infrastructure projects involving the use of steeps and operating a port in Haifa. A planned initial public offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange two years at a 1.2 billion shekels valuation was pulled.

On Tuesday, Gold Bond said police had placed restrictions on certain Israel Shipyards bank accounts. But on Wednesday the company said in a TASE announcement that the restrictions wouldn’t affect either Israel Shipyards or Katsav’s affairs.

Bribing a foreign official is a relatively new crime in Israel, added to the criminal code in 2008 as part of Israel’s accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations Convention against Corruption.