Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is facing a conflict of interest probe over a submarine deal with the German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp, DW reports.
This is the third government crisis caused by ThyssenKrupp’s submarine deals. The German conglomerate has been embroiled in similar scandals in Greece and Portugal.
The deal entailed Israel buying three Dolphin class submarines worth €1.4bn; these would make them the most expensive weapon in Israel’s possession, Jerusalem Post notes.
Netanyahu first faced allegations of corruption when the former Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya’alon, accused the Prime Minister of firing him over his objections to ThyssenKrupp contract. It is not believed that Ya’alon may be willing to testify against Netanyahu and some see him as a potential contender for the premiership.
Israel’s Prime Minister denies any wrongdoing.
So far, Netanyahu is not accused of personally receiving money, but it is alleged that the Prime Minister’s cousin and lawyer, David Shimron, played an active role in mediating the deal. ThyssenKrupp denies any connection to the lawyer. Shimron, in turn, was allegedly working for businessman Miki Ganor, ThyssenKrupp’s official negotiator who Reuters reports received a €10 million fee for the deal, Reuters reported in November 2016.
On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu told an opposition lawmaker, Eldad Yaniv, that his petition to Israel’s High Court of Justice for a criminal probe amounted to “obstruction of justice,” The Times of Israel Reports. Yaniv is a Labor party activist. But, the petition was co-signed by Attorney General Avishai Margalit, not to mention 19,000 citizens.
Overall, Benjamin Netanyahu is facing three independent corruption probes, for receiving improper gifts, for conflict of interest, and for conspiring to shape the media market.