New Arrests Made in Submarine Bribery Case

A view of the HDW-shipyard in Kiel, Germany, where the Dolphin submarines are being built for Israel. (Wikipedia)

The state investigation into a bribery scandal surrounding Israel’s purchase of submarines from Germany advanced this week, with the arrest of another high-profile figure.

Court officials on Tuesday authorized for release the name of the detainee who was arrested Sunday, and he is Shai Brosh, the former head of the Israel Navy’s Shayetet 13, generally compared to the Marine Corps in the United States. Brosh was arrested on charges of accepting a bribe, breach of trust and conspiracy to commit a crime in the bribery scandal, known as Case 3000.

Brosh is one of six people arrested in recent days on the strength of testimony given by Israeli businessman Miki Ganor, who represented Germany’s ThyssenKrupp, which was trying to sell submarines to the navy. Ganor has agreed to a plea deal in which he admitted to being involved in the bribery scandal. He is to serve a year in prison and pay a NIS 10 million fine. Ganor has already testified about several key figures, including David Shimron, an attorney who represented ThyssenKrupp’s interests. According to a report on Channel 2, Shimron worked to convince various officials to agree to the sale, for which his firm would net a large commission.

Questioned on Sunday was former government minister Eliezer (Modi) Zandberg, who testified that he had been an advisor to Ganor, but that he had not taken or given any bribes, according to Channel 2. In an interview, Zandberg said that he had accepted a NIS 100,000 payment from Ganor, but that the payment was not connected to the submarine deal. He did, however, discuss the deal with Ganor, “who explained to me how important the deal was to Israel.”

Also on the firing line is Rami Tayeb, a senior adviser to Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who was also questioned Sunday. Tayeb is accused of assisting former head of the Prime Minister’s Office David Sharan, for whom he worked in the past, in accepting and hiding bribe money. Tayeb was arrested over the weekend, and police plan to ask for an extension of his remand.

Sharan himself was also arrested over the weekend, as were two advisers he worked with, Natan Mor and Tzachi Lieber. All three are accused of facilitating the transfer of bribes to government officials.

Commenting on the arrest, Minister Steinitz told Channel 2 that “it struck me like lightning on a clear day. I had no idea about any of this.” In response to the possibility that he may be called in for questioning as well on his relationship with Tayeb, Minister Steinitz said that he would “appear for questioning like any citizen. I am positive that nothing will come of any of this” — at least regarding Tayeb.

Among those who have already been questioned in the case are Shimron and Eliezer Marom, former commander of the Israeli Navy. According to allegations, Shimron and Ganor pushed Marom and other defense officials to order the company’s Dolphin-class submarines.

The case was upgraded to a criminal investigation earlier this year. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not been considered a suspect in the case.