JERUSALEM (JTA) — Germany has delayed the official signing of an agreement to sell three new submarines to Israel over a corruption investigation into the multibillion-dollar deal.
The signing of the official memorandum of understanding for the sale had been scheduled for next week in Germany but has been postponed indefinitely, Ynet reported Tuesday.
Germany, which has committed to paying one-third of the deal, had already authorized the sale of the submarines made by the German company ThyssenKrupp to Israel. But a clause allows the agreement to be canceled if the investigation finds that it came about due to bribery or corruption.
Israel’s Defense Ministry director-general, Udi Adam, flew to Germany in an effort to prevent the outright cancellation of the deal, Ynet reported.
On Monday, news reports surfaced that Michael Ganor, a businessman and former Israeli military official who was heavily involved in the deal as ThyssenKrupp’s Israeli agent, was negotiating to turn state’s witness.
The investigation into what is known as Case 3000 began in November after allegations that David Shimron, a friend and personal attorney to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, convinced Netanyahu to purchase the subs from ThyssenKrupp rather than through an international tender.
Police suspect a series of crimes was committed surrounding the purchase of the subs, including bribery, fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.
Netanyahu currently is not a suspect in Case 3000, police have asserted.
The submarine deal, which would take about 10 years to fulfill, is meant to replace three older submarines in the Israeli Navy’s fleet.