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Israel to investigate submarine deal with Germany

Israeli police have launched an inquiry into a potential conflict of interest with German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp and Prime Minister Netanyahu's personal lawyer.

The Israeli Justice Ministry announced on Wednesday that it had called for an investigation into a contract for three submarines the government made with Germany. The news came on the heels of the revelation that manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems was represented in Israel by Davd Shrimron, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's personal attorney.

"Following new information that has been received today from the police and in view of other developments in the matter ... the attorney-general has ordered an investigation to be carried out by police concerning various aspects of the affair," read a statement from the Justice Ministry.

Shimron, who has denied any wrongdoing, welcomed the probe. "I am absolutely certain ... that objective, expert officials will find, once and for all, that my actions were faultless and that I acted according to the law and in line with conflict-of-interest arrangements," the lawyer said.

Netanyahu's office in turn published a statement expressing its complete faith in Shimron's integrity. Shimron also represents Miki Ganor, a key sales partner of ThyssenKrupp in Israel. The industrial conglomerate has said that they have no contract with Shimron.

The three submarines will cost around 1.5 billion dollars, and Netanyahu critics like dismissed former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalan has slammed the deal as a unnecessary waste of funds. This came on top of worries from other opposition voices who worry about the submarines' destructive power. There have been reports that the vessels will be capable of carrying nuclear warhead, should Israel ever secure atomic weapons.

es/bw (dpa, Reuters)

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