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Israel’s leading weapons manufacturer embroiled in corruption

Israeli soldiers aim their weapons and use tear gas at Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem [Anadolu]
Israeli soldiers fire their weapons and use tear gas on Palestinians in Jerusalem [Anadolu]

More than a dozen employees of Israel’s state-owned weapons manufacturer have been arrested over allegations of “systematic” corruption, police said today.

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.

    Israel Aerospace Industries is wholly owned by the Israeli government and is the country’s leading weapons manufacturer.

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 today, 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 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.

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