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Thyssenkrupp says firm tied to PM not involved in submarine deal under question

German shipbuilder Thyssenkrupp releases a statement asserting that one of its steel manufacturing clients with ties to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not involved in the sale of submarines to Israel.

“GrafTech is one of the Thyssenkrupp Group’s hundreds of thousands of business partners, with sales volumes in the low range. But there are no business relations with the marine division,” the defense contractor says.

According to Channel 13, the State Comptroller’s Office recently discovered that Netanyahu and his cousin Nathan Milikowsky were shareholders in publicly traded steel manufacturing company GrafTech International, which is a longtime supplier of Thyssenkrupp.

A conflict-of-interest case involving Israel’s $2 billion purchase of German submarines from Thyssenkrupp is thought to be one of the biggest graft schemes in the country’s history. It has snared several close associates of Netanyahu, but not the premier himself.

According to the report, Netanyahu did not disclose his holdings in GrafTech, which he had acquired when he was not prime minister.

Milikowsky reportedly held 11 percent of GrafTech, while the number of shares held by Netanyahu was withheld by the comptroller. Netanyahu sold his shares to his cousin after he was elected prime minister in 2009, he said.

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