Polish minister suspected of favoritism toward Israeli arms manufacturers

General Waldemar Skrzypczak allegedly promoted purchase of Israeli military equipment due to ties with Rafael CEO.

July 30, 2013 01:03
1 minute read.
IAI instructor controls drone

IAI instructor controls drone R 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

KRAKOW – Prosecutors in Poland are investigating the deputy defense minister for allegedly promoting the purchase of Israeli military equipment due to personal ties.

General Waldemar Skrzypczak, who is widely considered the most powerful man in the Polish Army, is responsible for purchases of new equipment for the military.

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For many years he has maintained good personal relations with Yedidia Yaari, CEO of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

The Polish Rczespospolita daily reported that the Military Counter-intelligence Service (MCS) asked the prosecutors to launch an investigation because it suspected that Skrzypczak, because of his connections with Yaari, promoted the purchase of drones manufactured by Rafael for an unmanned aerial unit of the Polish army.

Shortly after the decision to launch the investigation, Skrzypczak’s security clearance was canceled so that he would not be able to view classified army documents or take part in decisions concerning the purchases of new military equipment.

Skrzypczak admits that he personally knows several heads of Israeli companies, but denied accusations that he was lobbying for any of them. He said that he does not understand why he is being prosecuted for such charges.

He added, however, that he was not surprised by the MCS’s interest in this matter, suggesting that it could be politically motivated and an act of revenge against him personally.

In an interview with Rczespospolita he said, “I have the impression that all of this is in retaliation against me. As a deputy minister responsible for the purchases of military equipment, I cut through many pathological schemes which would be embarrassing to the army. I was warned by lobbyists that one day it will all end badly for me.”

Skrzypczak, 57, studied management and the use of strategic materials at air force bases in the US. He was the 4th commander of the Multinational Division Central- South in 2005.

In 2006 he was appointed commander of the Polish Land Forces, a position he held until 2009. In September 2011 he became an adviser to the Ministry of Defense, and in June 2012 was appointed deputy minister of defense, responsible for armaments and the modernization of the army. He has been responsible for the purchase of modern military equipment from both Israel and other Western countries in recent years.

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