Israel Aerospace Industries corruption scandal: Former senior IDF officer among suspects. Charges include fraud, money laundering, breach of trust. Police cite 'systematic criminal conduct, deep corruption.'
The corruption unit of the Israel Police arrested 13 people on Wednesday following a months-long undercover investigation at government-owned Israel Aerospace Industries. Among those arrested are a former senior Israel Defense Force officer who is on the IAI's board of directors, as well as IAI employees and staff of private companies that provide services to the aviation firm.
The case, dubbed Case 630, centers around ties between individuals at IAI and senior executives at outside firms. The suspicion is that higher ups at IAI rigged the bidding process in favor of the firms in exchange for bribe money that was allegedly laundered by a bank employee.
In recent months, the investigation was conducted in cooperation with defense and income tax authorities, and made public on Wednesday with the wave of arrests. In addition to senior IAI officials, those under arrest include junior employees and individuals who were to have provided oversight at the government-owned company.
On Wednesday, IAI issued a statement saying: "This morning the company became aware that the Israel Police had opened an investigation at Israel Aerospace Industries. The management of the company does not have all of the additional details on the matter. The company's CEO has instructed all of the relevant parties to cooperate fully with the Israel Police to the extent that it will be required and without reservation and to act in accordance with its instructions to complete the investigation and [to prosecute] anyone who broke the law to the full extent of the law."
The Israel Police issued a statement saying: "The undercover investigation of this affair has so far revealed systematic criminal conduct and alleged deep corruption at Israel Aerospace Industries." Police added that suspected wrongdoing includes bribery, aggravated fraud, money laundering, theft by a public official, fraud and breach of trust.
Police conducted searches of several suspects' homes on Wednesday along with searches at the offices of the private firms and at IAI. Several of the suspects were due to be brought to the Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court later on Wednesday on a request to extend their detention. Additional arrests are expected in the near future. The investigation may also lead to the questioning of people at the highest levels of Israel Aerospace, at least to gather their testimony, even if they are not seen as suspects, police sources said.