Germany’s national security council on Friday approved the sale of three more nuclear-capable submarines to Israel for a combined price of some 1.3 billion dollars.
The new vessels are part of a deal marred by corruption accusations against top Israeli officials spearheaded by premier Benjamin Netanyahu as well as against others from Germany.
The Israeli navy already obtained a fleet of five German submarines of the Dolphin Class, which can be equipped with nuclear warheads, with a sixth due for delivery this year, according to The Times of Israel newspaper.
The approval of the deal on Friday was first reported by Der Spiegel news magazine, which did not cite the source of the information.
The German magazine said further that the council decided the deal would be revoked if an investigation into corruption suspicions over the submarines yielded any indication of wrongdoing.
Both Israel and Germany have launched separate probes into allegations that Netanyahu’s personal lawyer, David Shimron, allegedly swayed multi-billion shekel deals in favor of the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp he represented in Israel. This company was awarded the contracts to build the submarines for Israel.
In November 2015, Israeli attorney general Avichai Mandelblit ordered a probe into the affair after accusations surfaced that Netanyahu may have decided to purchase the vessels under the influence of the business ties which his lawyer have with ThyssenKrupp.
The purchase was opposed by top Israeli military leaders, including then war minister Moshe Ya’alon.
The deal came under intense scrutiny late last year after Israel’s Channel 10 revealed that Shimron also worked in an advisory capacity for ThyssenKrupp.
The Israeli police are checking whether the premier himself have sought to influence the deals due to his ties to Shimron.
The probe is known in Israel as “Case 3000” and is one of several graft investigations involving the head of the government and other Israeli officials.
Ya’alon recently testified against Netanyahu in the case, accusing him of negotiating the purchase of the submarines with German officials without the involvement of Israel’s security and military establishments.
(Source / 01.07.2017)