Minister’s son reportedly arrested as probe into IAI defense firm expands
Police confirm 2 suspects detained, 10 more questioned as part of investigation into corruption at Israel’s largest state-owned company
Police arrested two people, including, reportedly, the son of a minister, as part of an ongoing probe into corruption suspicions at Israel Aerospace Industries, one of the country’s largest defense firms.
Another 10 people were hauled in for questioning, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
The two suspects were arrested early in the morning and their homes searched, police said. They are expected to appear at an arraignment hearing at Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court later Wednesday to determine if they will remain in custody, police said.
One of the suspects is the son of a Likud minister, Channel 10 news reported. Police did not divulge the identities of those arrested Wednesday.
Suspicions of of corruption, fraud, and breach of trust surrounding IAI became public last week when police raided the defense contractor, arresting 14 people.
The labor union at IAI, which employs some 16,000 people and is Israel’s largest state-owned company, is known as a Likud stronghold.
The suspects detained last week were from IAI and private companies who either supplied or were supplied by IAI, along with a former senior Israel Defense Forces officer, who police said was “well known in the defense establishment.”
“This is an extensive investigation, with a wide scope, which includes a number of sub-scandals, and raises suspicions of a range of charges — corruption, aggravated fraud, money laundering, theft by public officials, illegal business practices, fraud and breach of trust,” police said in a statement last week.
The “covert investigation” was conducted by the police’s Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit, along with investigators from the Tax Authority and the Director of Security of the Defense Establishment, an internal Defense Ministry investigatory unit.
The financial crimes department of the State’s Attorney’s Office is also involved in the investigation, police said.
“The covert investigation of this affair has thus far shown systemic criminal business practices and the suspicion of deep corruption, which is apparently common in the Israeli Aerospace Industries,” police said.
Those allegedly involved in the criminal activities include board members and managers, as well as junior staff, and “those who are supposed to be gatekeepers and advisers,” police said.
Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.