In the wake of a Greek newspaper report Sunday that an Israeli company is suspected of selling aircraft parts to Iran, it has emerged that an Israeli company from the same Binyamina local council was also suspected of selling the same Phantom warplane parts to Iran a decade ago.
According to Greek newspaper Kathimerini, the joint American-Greek investigation revealed that Israeli arms dealers had tried to smuggle spare parts for F-4 Phantom aircrafts to Iran through Greece, in a breach of the international arms embargo imposed on Tehran.
In March 2004 , two Israelis were investigated on allegations of planning to sell American-made spare parts for the Phantom to Iran. The two, Avihai Weinstein and brother-in-law Eli Cohen, were also suspected of planning to sell "Hawk" surface-to-air missiles. The equipment was discovered during a police raid on a warehouse in Binyamina. Cohen was also questioned in 2000 on suspicion of selling spare parts for armored personnel carriers to Iran.
In 2002, another incident came to light, after German customs officials discovered that Israeli-made equipment was bound for Iran via Hamburg port. Weinstein was a central suspect in that investigation as well, along with a Netanya-based arms dealer and the owners of a Netanya company, but ultimately no charges were brought against him.
The Greek reporter who first broke the joint US-Greek investigation, Yannis Souliotis, told Ynet that the company mentioned in the documents is R.S.P. Rebuilt Spare Parts in Binyamina.
According to Souliotis, the freight included mechanical parts for Phantom jets. "The parts were seized by the Greek enforcement authority and sent in January to the American authorities," he said. "The probe was based on information received from the investigative arm of the American Department of Homeland Security."
"The man who appears to be responsible for both containers has been wanted since 2004. It's not clear whether or not he's been arrested." Souliotis said.