Two months after the United States Treasury sanctioned a retired Israeli general over allegations he sold millions of dollars of arms to South Sudan during its civil war, no evidence has been shared with Israel despite government requests.
“I went to the Defense Ministry right after the sanctions were made public and demanded that the Israeli government investigate me,” Maj.-Gen. Israel Ziv told The Jerusalem Post on Monday evening.
“The government agreed to a hearing but the Americans still haven’t provided any evidence... two months later there has not even been a response from them.”
Ziv vehemently denied the American allegations that his consulting company, Global CST, sold $150 million in arms to South Sudan, telling the Post that he and his company have nothing to hide.
“If even 1% of what they say is correct, I should be imprisoned in Israel. If it’s true, then I was going against Israeli law since I never had a permit to sell weapons... my company never ever supplied any weapons to any South Sudanese.”
In a statement to the Post
, the Defense Ministry said that “in general, we do not deal specifically with exporters and/or meetings with them.”
In December, the Treasury sanctioned Ziv and two others over their roles in South Sudan’s civil war, saying that Ziv, the former head of the IDF’s Operations Directorate, used legal entities as a cover for weapons, which extended the length of the conflict.
“Ziv used an agricultural company that was nominally present in South Sudan to carry out agricultural and housing projects for the government of South Sudan as a cover for the sale of approximately $150 million worth of weapons to the government, including rifles, grenade launchers and shoulder-fired rockets,” read the statement by the Treasury.
According to the Treasury, Ziv was paid through the country’s oil industry as he had close collaboration with a major multi-national oil firm.
He is also said to have “maintained the loyalty of senior officials in the government of South Sudan through bribery and promises of security support.
“He has also reportedly planned to organize attacks by mercenaries on South Sudanese oil fields and infrastructure, in an effort to create a problem that only his company and affiliates could solve.”
The department also designated three of Ziv’s Israeli companies: Global NTM Ltd., Global Law Enforcement and Security Ltd., and Global IZ Group Ltd.
“It was like an atomic bomb falling on me, or like a hit and run by a large truck, when the sanctions came. There’s not one single night I don’t go to sleep wondering where these allegations came from, and wake up every day asking it,” Ziv said.
According to Ziv, who has since reached out to the United Nations – which sent a team to South Sudan to visit his company’s projects – the allegations can be easily proven as false.
“There are two clear allegations: the $150 million and the front company,” he explains.
“The second one is a very high-profile project and easy to see... all our equipment and employees. This is not fake but as real as it could be. We never bought or have any use for weapons, especially for $150 million.
“We had government security because its a national project, but what’s the connection between that and selling guns? The government was in charge of protecting the project and the people.”
In December 2015, one of Ziv’s companies signed an agreement with the government of South Sudan to establish a large-scale national agricultural project called “Green Horizon” (GH), which aimed to increase agricultural production to enhance the country’s food security. The project was due to end this year.
The Treasury also imposed sanctions on South Sudanese businessman Obac William Olawo and Gregory Vasili, two men who Ziv maintained he does not know and never had any dealings with.
While governor of Gogrial State in South Sudan in 2017, Vasili “oversaw an explosion of intra-clan ethnic violence that resulted in scores of civilians being killed and thousands displaced from their homes,” the Treasury said, adding that he had also been involved in other illegal activity involving the South Sudanese military.
Olawo meanwhile was accused of being “engaged in the trade and shipment of arms and armaments to South Sudan,” and of receiving millions of dollars from the government for importing armored cars and transporting weapons and troops.
Israel recognized South Sudan on July 10, 2011, but the country has been accused of using Israeli arms and surveillance equipment in the civil war, which has racked the country since 2013 and has killed close to 400,000 people.
Millions more have been displaced from their homes in the fighting, which broke out after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup.
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