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2 Army Officers Held for Allegedly Taking Bribes from an American Firm

Two Israeli army officers of middle rank have been arrested for allegedly accepting bribes from an American firm that supplied spare parts for Israel’s armed forces. The army confirmed today that an investigation was in process but did not name the suspects. The newspaper Yediot Achronot said a Lt. Col. Granit and a Major Ze’evi were detained for questioning.

The suspects were said to have served in the Israeli Purchasing Mission in the U.S. during 1973 and 1974. The bribes, allegedly paid by the Arditi Export Corp., which has offices in mid-town Manhattan, were said to involve sums of between $10,000-$30,000.

According to a report in Maariv, both officers were in charge of the Mission’s contacts with the firm. They are being investigated by the Military Police while the civilian police are investigating officials of the Defense Ministry’s mission in the U.S., Maariv said. According to the paper, the FBI is simultaneously conducting an investigation of the American company.

Its founder and operator was identified as Itzhak Arditi a former Israeli who came to the U.S. in 1948. The firm has been supplying the Israeli army with spare parts for combat vehicles for some time. Its business turnover with the Defense Ministry was reported to be $20 million a year. The affair caused surprise and consternation in Israeli military circles who feel that the honor of the service has been besmirched. The probe was said to be the first of its kind. Further arrests are expected:(By Yitzhak Shargil)

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