TEL AVIV, Israel — A widening scandal in Israel over a slew of suspected criminal offenses is likely to torpedo a €1.2 billion (U.S. $1.4 billion) submarine deal between Israel and Germany, as a former Israeli Navy commander and the personal attorney of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are the latest to be caught up in an ongoing probe.
There are now four ongoing police probes into Netanyahu or his close associates spanning a spectrum of allegations including accepting inappropriate gifts to abuse of influence over the telecommunications sector, ranging from Case 1000 to Case 4000. Hence, the naval procurement scandal’s colloquial label of Case 3000.
Marom is the highest-ranking Israeli military officer ever to be arrested here. Investigators suspect him of conspiracy and of taking bribes from Ganor, the local agent of TKMS, the Kiel, Germany-based shipyard that builds Dolphin-class submarines and surface ships for the Israeli Navy.
During interrogation earlier this week, Marom confirmed that, as Navy commander, he insisted TKMS replace its longtime agent in Israel, a former Israeli Air Force officer, with Ganor. Through his attorney, Marom has denied receiving payment from Ganor, yet experts say it is unprecedented for an active-duty officer to intervene on contracts between foreign companies and their in-country agents.
“My work there was to the mutual benefit of my country and the shipyard. Thank God I’m out with my integrity and clean hands,” Bareket said.
Now, as the probe threatens to widen further while casting aspersions on Netanyahu himself, a contract is unlikely to be signed, according to a senior Israeli Defense Ministry official.
In the meantime, the official said, the Defense Ministry has launched an internal review of its own processes aimed at preventing “outside interested parties from hijacking the professional system in place for administration and oversight.”