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Not only Iran: Abu Dhabi shipyard owner involves in construction of warships for Israeli Navy, Report

corvette-A Sa'ar 5-class corvette of the Israeli navy. (YouTube screen capture)
Four Sa’ar 6-class corvettes are under construction for the Israeli Navy in a shipyard owned by Lebanese and Abu Dhabi-based companies. But officials persist in claiming that no classified information about the warships is at risk.

The deal is part of a project signed in 2015 with German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp which has sub-contracted the work out to the shipyard. The deal also included the purchase of three submarines, all of which will be entrusted with the protection of Israel’s off-shore gas fields.

Israel and Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, do not have official diplomatic or economic ties. Under Israeli law Lebanon, which shares a border with it, is considered an enemy state.

Yedioth Ahronoth claims that Abu Dhabi MAR,  the leading shipbuilding company in the Persian Gulf,  operates the docks where the vessels are being assembled. The company’s CEO, Lebanese Iskandar Safa, owns a 30 percent stake in it via the Beirut-based Privinvest shipbuilding group. The remaining 70 percent is owned by Al Ain International Group, also from from Abu Dhabi.

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Iran holds shares in company selling submarines to Israel


The long-term cooperation agreement between ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Abu Dhabi MAR was signed in April 2010.

According to Yedioth the agreement Abu Dhabi MAR was to buy ThyssenKrupp’s civilian shipyards, while the military projects would be split 50-50 between the two companies.

In 2011 ThyssenKrupp sold its civilian shipyard HDW Gaarden in Kiel, Germany, to Abu Dhabi MAR. As a result, the defendant’s bench, which focuses on civil constructions, changed his name to Abu Dhabi MAR Kiel.

In mid-May 2011, ThyssenKrupp announced that the deal from 2010 was off and that the agreement with Abu Dhabi MAR was canceled. Still a small part of the agreement followed through, including the transfer of shipyard HDW Gaarden, Kiel, Germany, to Abu Dhabi MAR.

When the civilian boat yard operators business began to struggle, Kiel shipyard entered to the military sector as well.


corvette-A Sa'ar 5-class corvette of the Israeli navy. Ynet


Yedioth said that In March 2015, two months before the deal between the Israeli Navy and ThyssenKrupp was announced, the shipyard, which changed its name after the sale to Abu Dhabi MAR Kiel, changed its name again to German Naval Yards. It was suggested the Arab name was in the way of the deal with Israel and was consequently changed – This have not been officially confirmed, however.

In May 2015, Israel signed a € 430 million ($ 480 million) deal with ThyssenKrupp to build Israeli-designed four-Saar-class corvettes 6, to be delivered over five years.

Under the contract, the report said, Germany will fund about a third of the cost of the transaction with a special grant of € 115 million ($ 122 million). The ships are slightly larger than Sa’ar 5 corvettes Israel’s largest ships currently service with the Navy.

Iran earned 2 billion Euros off German company designing Israeli submarines

German Navy Yard Keel told Yedioth Ahronoth that it is “being used as a subcontractor for ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. Its role in this deal (with the Israeli Navy) is to contribute to the engineering of the vessel and build it in the Kiel shipyard. The shipyard was in contact with the Israeli side only through ThyssenKrupp.”

Israel’s Defense Ministry told Yedioth Ahronoth in response: “The contract for the acquisition of the warships was signed with a German company, with the direct involvement of the German government—which even funds a third of the deal. Ahead of the deal signing, the Director of Security of the Defense Establishment checked with German government officials to ensure no classified information from the project is given to unauthorized bodies. It’s important to note that the German shipyard only builds the hull of the warships, with the rest of the systems being installed in Israel.”

According to data released by IFIC in 2011, Iran holds 4.5% of ThyssenKrupp. In a 2016 Dr. Farhad Zargari, Managing Director & Chairman of IFIC, confirmed that the company still holds share in the German conglomerate. According to IFIC’s website, 57% of its investments are in Europe.

Attorney General of Israel AviChai Mandelblitt last week ordered the police to investigate the allegations that Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal lawyer, David Shimron, used his close relationship with the Prime Minister to push Israel to purchase submarines from ThyssenKrupp.



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