FrankfurtThe prosecutors from Bochum expect unfamiliar guests this week. Representatives of the Israeli police travel to the Ruhr city to interview two colleagues from the industrial group Thyssen-Krupp with their German colleagues. Officials hope to receive information on the purchase of submarines worth around 1.5 billion euros. According to their previous findings, kickbacks were paid in the initiation of the business.
The two executives of the shipyard division Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS) were summoned as witnesses, the Handelsblatt learned from informed circles. Both were entrusted with the armor deal. The prosecutor Bochum did not want to comment on this.
The Israeli police and the investigators from the Ruhr area are trying to solve a particularly sensitive case: not only is the relationship between Germany and Israel due to the millions of murders of Jews under the regime of the National Socialists in itself a special. Because of this debt Berlin supports arms exports to the country, politically and financially.
The recipients of bribes should also be people from the immediate vicinity of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. So it's about high politics, even if the police expressly do not count the head of state as the suspect. However, he had been questioned about the allegations.
The allegations the police after a two-year investigation largely as proven. In November last year, she had brought charges against six accused. These should have been guilty of fraud, money laundering and corruption.
The prosecutors base their charges above all on Miki Ganor's testimony. He is not only the former agent of Thyssen-Krupp in Israel, he is also one of Netanyahu's close environment, as the Israeli Investigative Reporter Raviv Drucker has found out. With his reports for the channel Channel 10 printer brought the investigation against Netanyahu in motion.
Ganor came to work for Thyssen-Krupp, according to press reports from stakeholders. He took on the role of a consultant who worked for the Group for many years in the country.
Ganor is said to have confirmed the allegations of the police and had made himself available as a witness for the prosecution. However, he later revoked his confession by claiming that the police had pressurized him. The investigators lost their most important witness.
Therefore, before the indictment can be dealt with in a court, the procedure threatens to fail. The officials would have to rework the case according to Israeli circles. This may be one of the reasons why the officials have extended their investigation.
So far, the police in Germany had not interviewed even employees of the Ruhr Group. Only in Switzerland, a witness familiar with submarine sales is said to have been interviewed.
Thyssen-Krupp confirmed that employees of TKMS should be interviewed by the Israelis. The group itself initiated an investigation, the result of which was sent to the investigators in Germany and Israel, a spokesman said. "The fact that the authorities now want to make a personal impression through talks with witnesses is understandable and does not surprise us."
For Thyssen-Krupp, the outcome of the corruption trial is of fundamental importance. For if the suspicion is confirmed, then the next deal should fail: Israel wants to buy three more submarines worth nearly two billion euros – but only if no bribes were paid.
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