13 arrested for corruption at Israel weapons giant

Police arrest Israel Aerospace Industries employees for money laundering, theft, and related crimes.


Arrest (illustrative)
Arrest (illustrative)

More than a dozen employees of Israel's giant state-owned weapons manufacturer have been arrested over allegations of "systematic" corruption, Israel Police said on Wednesday.

The 13 staff of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) included top directors, heads of department and a prominent former military official, police said in a statement.

The investigation concerns suspicions of bribes paid to win IAI tenders, as well as allegations of theft, breaches of trust and money laundering.

The police did not provide any further details on the suspects or say whether the alleged corruption affected trade with foreign countries.

But "the investigation revealed systematic criminal practices," the police said.

"Everywhere we looked, we found elements of corruption," police spokesman Meirav Lapidot told Army Radio.

Investigators searched the homes and offices of suspects.

A court was expected to rule on the extension of their custody on Wednesday, police said.

IAI is wholly owned by the Israeli government and is the country's leading weapons manufacturer.

The company employed nearly 16,000 people, according to 2015 figures, and had revenues of $3.7 billion (3.48 billion euros) last year.

The group accounts for nearly half of Israeli arms exports, with more than three quarters of its sales abroad.

With US firm Boeing, it has developed Israel's anti-ballistic missile system, the Arrow 3.