Investors sue Israeli satellite company

Private investors in an Israeli satellite company filed a lawsuit against the company because of its refusal to share images with some countries.

Nine plaintiffs, including five Americans, three Israelis and one Canadian, are bringing a $6 billion suit against ImageStat, a company co-owned by private investors and the Israeli government, the NewYork Sun reported Friday. ImageStat rents spy satellites to foreign countries that do not have their own.

The suit claims that the Israeli Ministry of Defense pressured the company to renege on a lucrative deal with Venezuela due to the United States’ current strained relationship with the South American country. The suit further alleges that politics got in the way of deals with Angola, Russia and Taiwan.

At first, the Israeli government agreed to the political independence of ImageStat as necessary to make the company profitable, the suit alleges. The only limits set were that no satellites could be sold to countries within 1,500 miles of Israel or to Cuba, Iran and North Korea, it says. The termination of the Venezuelan deal is seen as a breach of that agreement, as Venezuela is on a list of 60 approved countries.

In recent years, Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, has reached out to Iran.

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