Israel's Finance Ministry said on Tuesday in a Knesset discussion held behind closed doors that it would investigate how a loan in the sum of 248 million euros from Discount Bank was approved for the purchase of ships to protect the natural gas rigs, which is now under police investigation.
The ministry said that the security cabinet had not been informed about the project's financing.
The discussion was held by the committee that oversees the defense establishment budget, which is a joint body of the Defense and Foreign Affairs and Finance committees. Also reviewed at the meeting were the several large defense deals including the purchase of F-35 aircraft from Lockheed Martin.
Sources knowledgeable about the discussion said representatives of the Accountant-General and the Treasury's legal adviser had said that the security cabinet approved of the ships' purchase, but without approving a budget for the deal or discussing a possible loan.
The shortcomings of the decision forced them to seek financing, and the legal adviser's people will investigate, the sources said.
The loan taken out by the Finance Ministry covers 66 percent of the deal, and is considered very high and an unprecedented way to pay for such deals. (end of excerpt)
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