Thursday, February 20, 2014

Two Israelis arrested in Iran arms sales case

Avihai Weinstein and Eli Cohen have been investigated multiple times for allegedly violating sanctions

By Ilan Ben Zion for The Times of Israel
PhantomJetTwo arms dealers were arrested on suspicion of selling military aircraft parts to Iran, Channel 2 reported.

Avihai Weinstein and Eli Cohen were said to be under investigation by the Israel Police and the Defense Ministry’s security investigation arm. The police would not confirm the report to The Times of Israel, but said the matter was familiar to them butcould not comment further because it was under investigation by foreign law enforcement agencies.

Earlier this week, Greek officials, working together with the American Homeland Security Investigations agency, uncovered two shipments of spare parts for F-4 Phantom jets in December 2012 and again in April 2013, the Ekathimerini daily reported over the weekend.

Weinstein and Cohen have both been investigated multiple times for allegedly trying to sell and ship military equipment to the Islamic Republic in violation of international sanctions. The two had previously tried to ship the arms to Iran via intermediary states such as the United States, Germany, Thailand and Portugal, Channel 2 reported. According to the report, Cohen has been investigated six times on such charges in the past 12 years.

According to a Haaretz report from 2004, Cohen and Weinstein were suspected of attempting to sell Hawk missiles and radar systems used in Phantoms. Two years earlier they attempted to sell parts for Israeli-made armored personnel carriers, but were never indicted.

Their company, R.S.P. Rebuilt Spare Parts, was not available for comment at the time of publication.

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