Israel says defense officials caught in major bribery case

Israel's Justice Ministry says it plans to prosecute suspects involved in a “serious corruption affair” in one of the country's defense bodies

JERUSALEM -- Israel's Justice Ministry said Tuesday it plans to prosecute suspects involved in a “serious corruption affair” in one of the country's defense bodies.

Most details of the case, including the names of the suspects, were unavailable because of a gag order.

But a statement by the ministry said public servants working in the unnamed defense body allegedly received millions in bribes from companies with the aim of promoting sales deals with Israel's defense establishment.

The suspects are to be charged with bribery, fraud, breach of trust and money laundering, among others offenses, pending a hearing.

The announcement comes after the ministry said last week it would serve indictments for corruption charges in a $2 billion German submarine deal that roped in close associates of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the country's former navy chief.

The justice ministry claims those accused in the submarine case personally benefited from the purchase.

Netanyahu was questioned, but not named as a suspect, in the submarine probe, known as “case 3000.” But it sparked questions about his earnings on a related German submarine sale to Egypt.

Netanyahu has been indicted in three other graft cases for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He has denied wrongdoing on all charges.