Forbes news Website has reported couple of days ago, “In a convoluted development intersecting the energy sector and Middle Eastern geopolitics, media in Israel is reporting that Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has ordered a police probe into allegations that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal lawyer, David Shimron, used his close relationship with the Israeli leader to influence him to award the contract to build several navy submarines to ThyssenKrupp, a German multinational conglomerate with a 4.5% ownership stake held by the Iranian government.”
The report continued, “The subs will be used to protect Israel’s massive offshore natural gas field in the Mediterranean. According to a report on Friday in The Times of Israel, Shimron was a representative of the company in Israel. The inquiry will also focus on a separate 2014 Defense Ministry tender for navy ships, also involving ThyssenKrupp.”
Forbes website added that Israel’s Yedioth Acharonoth newspaper reported on Friday that the intersect between ThyssenKrupp and the Iranian government began in the 1970s during the reign of the Shah of Iran. The Shah’s government was latter toppled during the Iranian revolution in 1979.
During the 1970s, the Iranian government invested $400 million in the German conglomerate, a 24.9% stake, which was inherited by Iran’s current Islamic government. At the time ThyssenKrupp was mostly building steel, and not yet in the shipbuilding business. The switch came after ThyssenKrupp acquired shipbuilder Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft in 2005.
Later and under mounting political pressure from Washington during the administration of President George W. Bush, ThyssenKrupp reportedly paid Iran a large sum of money to reduce its ownership stake to just under 5%. However, Iran is still making handsome profits from its long-time investment in the German company, earning approximately €2 billion from ThyssenKrupp dividends.
The report also said that Yedioth Acharonoth added that the Iran Foreign Investment Company (IFIC), which is government-owned, holds 4.5% of ThyssenKrupp’s shares. IFIC, the Iranian government’s main avenue for investing abroad, purchased the shares principally via two subsidiaries.
The report also continued that Netanyahu said last month he didn’t know of Shimron’s ties to ThyssenKrupp. However, there is growing pressure over allegations that he pushed for buying the submarines from ThyssenKrupp despite opposition from the country’s defense establishment, though the Israel military has made a statement contradicting these claims.