(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan on Monday said that the Ofer brothers scandal over alleged business interactions with Iran was "exagerrated."
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Dagan was speaking with reporters prior to a ceremony in which he received the Moskowitz Zionism Award on Monday along with Rabbi Hanan Porat, among the leaders of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, and Nefesh B'Nefesh founder Yehushua Fass.
The US State Department announced it would place sanctions on the Ofer Brothers Group for its role in the September 2010 sale of a tanker to an banned Iranian company.
According to a fact sheet released by the State Department, the Ofer Brothers Group, together with Singapore-based Tanker Pacific, “failed to exercise due diligence, and did not heed publicly available and easily obtainable information that would have indicated that they were dealing with IRISL [Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines].”
The Ofer Brother’s Group denied having ever knowingly done business with an Iranian company.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denied ever authorizing
the Ofer brothers' sale of an oil tanker to Iran or having any prior knowledge of the affair, speaking at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.
The Prime Minister's Office did not authorize the contacts between the Ofers' company and Iran, Netanyahu said. "I found out about it from a journalist's question," adding that after checking with members of his staff authorized to deal with such matters, "there was no permission for any contact or delivery to Iran." "We have clear policies on this matter," he added.
Ron Friedman contributed to this report