Knesset approves funding for military vessels from 'Tehran-linked' company

Knesset approves funding for military vessels from 'Tehran-linked' company
A Knesset subcommittee approves budget for purchases of vessels from German firm ThyssenKrupp, despite the deal being currently investigated by anti-corruption police.
2 min read
11 December, 2016
Israeli lawmakers urged to freeze budget talks for vessel purchases until investigations were over [AFP]
An Israeli parliamentary subcommittee passed on Thursday funding package to purchase military vessels by Iran-linked German firm ThyssenKrupp, currently being investigated by anti-corruption teams over improprieties implicating Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The Knesset subcommittee met last week to discuss the military budget for the year 2017, approving the allocation of over 430 million euros [$454 million] for the deal, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

The panel approved funds to cover the purchase of submarines and missile boats from ThyssenKrupp, despite ongoing police investigations into allegations of corruption involving Netanyahu's personal attorney David Shimron.

Israeli lawmakers had urged to freeze budget talks for vessel purchases until investigations were over.

They said the money should be placed in a budgetary reserve to be made available once the investigations were closed.

"It's inconceivable that foreign parties should turn a profit on defence deals while members of the budget committee don't even know about them before those billions are approved, and especially when police are investigating the deal," a source on the committee quoted Israeli lawmaker Erel Margalit as saying.

Members of the subcommittee objected, arguing that it would be mean revisiting the defence budget.

The police investigation is also looking at allegations of bribery surrounding Avriel Bar-Yosef – who spearheaded negotiations over the deal with ThyssenKrupp.

Iranian holding company IFIC owns 4.5 percent stake in the German firm.

According to defence ministry officials quoted by the media, Israel obtained guarantees from the ThyssenKrupp that Iran did not have access to confidential information on the submarines it would receive. 

ThyssenKrupp is also the focus of a related controversy over the alleged involvement of Lebanese and Emirati firms in the construction of Israeli navy corvettes.