Israel’s cabinet has decided to launch a state investigation into the procurement of submarines and other vessels from Germany amid corruption allegations involving confidants of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.In a statement, a government spokesperson said the cabinet approved establishing a state commission of inquiry that will investigate the case by vote, reports Xinhua news agency. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett abstained, 26 Ministers voted in favour, and one voted against.
The commission was tasked with examining the deals in terms of purchasing three submarines and six warships from ThyssenKrupp, a German multinational conglomerate, between 2009 and 2016. The approval comes about a year after Defence Minister Benny Gantz appointed a ministerial committee to investigate Netanyahu’s possible involvement in the “graft affair”. In May 2021, seven Israelis, including two of Netanyahu’s close associates and a former minister, were charged with bribery and breach of trusts in the graft affair known in Israel as “case 3000” Though not a suspect in the case, Netanyahu is currently facing a criminal trial in three other corruption cases.
The approval of establishing the commission comes three days after the Israeli Defence Ministry and ThyssenKrupp signed a 3 billion euro deal for the development and production of three advanced submarines for the Israeli Navy.
Under Israeli law, a state commission of inquiry has the most extensive powers among various types of inquiry commissions, with the authority to summon citizens including civil servants, and order them to submit confidential documents.