An Israeli attorney known for his close ties with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been appointed to the board of directors of a subsidiary firm of ThyssenKrupp, the German conglomerate submarine manufacturer which has made deals with Israel to the tune of billions of dollars, Haaretz reported Thursday, November 17. David Shimron, who is seen as one of the right-wing premier’s confidants, provides legal representation for Miki Ganor, a middleman for ThyssenKrupp in Israel, according to Haaretz. Additionally, Shimron is a board member in Ganor’s M. Ganor Yam company, which was consulting ThyssenKrupp Marine System, Haaretz claimed. Regarding the privatization of the maintenance work for the navy’s vessels, Shimron said he “indeed met with Histadrut Chairman [Avi Nissankoren] and the chairman of the IDF Worker’s Union [Moshe Friedman] to create dialogue in case the navy’s ship maintenance will be delegated to the civilian [sector].”
Having already purchased six submarines from ThyssenKrupp, Israel is reportedly seeking to buy three more advanced submarines at a total price of 1.2 billion Euros ($1.3 billion). Israeli media reported earlier in the week that Netanyahu pushed for the deal with the German conglomerate in the face of opposition from the Israeli military, including former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who was sacked by Netanyahu earlier this year. After Channel 10 aired a report on the deal earlier this week, Ya’alon on Thursday said that he “vociferously objected” to Israel purchasing the submarines, and that the report was ‘very disturbing’.”
The story may result in another graft investigation into the Israeli extreme-right leader, already embroiled in a scandal over his and his spouse’s expenses. The Netanyahu’s are also the focus of a probe looking into allegations of abusing household staff. “There is no choice but to discuss in the Knesset and to investigate all aspects of the submarine deal as it is such a sensitive topic, including the prime minister’s associates who are involved,” said Hadash MK Dov Khenin (Joint List) on Saturday. “It’s a typical case of capital-power-security linkage.”
According to Handelsblatt, the German economy newspaper, prosecutors in the city of Bremen launched last June an investigation into possible corruption against the ThyssenKrupp industrial group. The investigation has been a blow to ThyssenKrupp which thought it had rooted out corruption in its ranks. Heinrich Hiesinger took over as chief executive in 2011 and imposed a zero tolerance policy towards illegal activity, declaring repeatedly he would prefer to lose business rather than risk breaking the law. But the new investigation suggests the group may not have entirely broken with its past.