The Israel Police arrested a former senior member of the Israeli National Security Council (NSC) Tuesday after National Fraud Investigation Unit teams searched the suspect's home, who was slated to soon be appointed to a senior security-related position.
The suspect was arrested for alleged offenses of bribery, money laundering, fraud, and breach of trust. Another suspect—a woman—was also detained on suspicion of her involvement in the matter.
The NSC suspect allegedly used his position to advance the business of a German tycoon in return for bribes—transferred to him or members of his family—via personal favors and money, all of this without proper disclosure of their relationship by the NSC man.
The affair was first treated as a disciplinary matter, but a criminal investigation was initiated once Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit concluded that the NSC official's alleged actions could constitute felonies. The AG informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the matter, and advised him to avoid appointing the suspect to his intended position. Shortly thereafter, the man in question agreed to remove himself from consideration for the marked post.
The official, who served as an officer in the IDF, was considered to be a person of esteem and held many key roles in the public sector. As a result of him being appointed to a sensitive position in public service, he underwent an extensive background check, where concerns about existing contacts with businessmen were raised. As a result, the official's appointment was delayed, promting a more meticulous background check which ultimately led to the removal of his candidacy for the position.
The investigations department of Ynet's sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth uncovered ties between the official, a German businessman and their influence on the gas market. Among other things, it was revealed that the German businessman flew the former NSC official's daughter to Berlin aboard a luxury private jet. At the time of the flight, it was discovered that the official was involved in formulating Israel government policy in the natural gas sector.
The investigation also revealed how he exploited "security reasons" as an pretext to build a facility that cost billions of dollars and was connected to the businesses owned by the same German businessman. The investigation raised concerns about government policy regarding gas and future economic decisions being related to contacts with foreign interests.
The official has denied all allegations and said that he "acted to protect citizens of the country and their security," and that "there is no basis for the claim that my official position had anything to do with the individual mentioned in the article. I am proud of my position."
After the Yedioth Ahronoth investigation, the official announced his decision to remove himself from the candidacy for the position. The German businessman claimed that he merely provided the suspect's daughter a ride and that she joined him for the flight by coincidence. The businessman also denied other claims that he provided favors to the official. As for their relationship, the businessman insisted that other than the short meeting they had, he has never met the official.