Former Israeli Minister Arrested for Taking Bribes in 'Submarine Affair'

Investigation of minister follows Sunday's arrest of Netanyahu's former bureau chief

Israeli new Dolphin class submarine entry's Haifa port, July 27, 1999
REUTERS

Former Israeli minister Moody Zandberg was arrested on Monday on suspicion of taking bribes in connection to the so-called "submarine affair." Former deputy national security adviser,  Avriel Bar-Yosef, and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz's media adviser were also being investigated on Monday in connection to the case.

The case involves allegations of bribery in a deal to purchase three submarines and as well as a number of ships to protect Israel's offshore drilling platforms from Germany, at a total cost of around 1.5 billion euros.

The investigation of the former minister is centered on talks that were held by Israel and a South Korean company regarding the purchase of ships to be used to defend the deep water gas rigs. The tender for the purchase of the ships was put on hold, and eventually an agreement was signed to purchase them from the German company ThyssenKrupp. 

Former minister Zandberg, who served as minister of infrastructures and minister of science and technology from 2003 to 2004, was at the time acting as a representative of the Korean company with which the government was in talks with.

Zandberg is to be questioned on his role, and the nature of his relations with state witness, Miki Ganor, during that period.

According to a source in the defense establishment, German representatives got wind of the cheaper more competative offers Israel received and as result revived a cancelled proposal whereby the German government would provide financial assistance to the extent of one-third of the total cost.

In 2015, after the option of German financial assistance was made available, Israel's Ministry of Defense signed the purchase of the four ships, called Saar 6, at a cost of 430 million euros from ThyssenKrupp.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's former bureau chief, David Sharan, was also arrested Sunday on suspicion of accepting bribes in the case. A court ordered him to remain in detention for five days.

Also detained for questioning Sunday were former Israel Navy commander Eliezer Marom as well as an unnamed retired rear admiral in the navy who is suspected of fraud, taking a bribe and breach of trust and at least two media advisers, also unnamed. The media advisers, who were detained while on their way to Ben-Gurion International Airport, are suspected of aiding in the commission of a bribery offense and obstruction of justice.