Israeli State Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that it intends to indict, pending a hearing, officials of an Israeli drone manufacturer that allegedly attempted to bomb the Armenian military on behalf of Azerbaijan during a demonstration of one of its unmanned kamikaze aerial vehicles last year, the Times of Israel reports.
Among those from Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd summoned to appear before the State Attorney’s Office’s Economics Division are the company’s CEO Amos Matan, deputy CEO Meir Rizmovitch, development director Haim Hivashar and marketing director David Goldin.
Wednesday’s announcement comes after a nearly year-long joint investigation of the Israel Police’s Unit of International Crime Investigations, the Defense Ministry’s investigation unit and the State Attorney’s Office into Aeronautics’s conduct.
A statement announcing the summonses said the members of the company are suspected of fraud as well as other violations of the Defense Export Control Law, which protects against unauthorized exports of defense intelligence and equipment.
According to the source, Aeronautics released a statement responding to the hearing summonses, saying: “We are convinced that after we first present our position at the hearing, the State Prosecutor’s Office will reach an informed decision that there is no reason to put the company or any of its officers in court and will order the case closed.”
An investigation into the company was opened in 2017 but a gag order has been placed over many of its details.
Before that the Defense Ministry’s Defense Export Controls Agency halted Aeronautics’ export license for its Orbiter 1K model UAV to a “significant customer,” which the company reported to the Israeli stock exchange, as required by law.
According to Aeronautics, the company was poised to make a NIS 71.5 million ($20 million) deal over the next two years with the “significant customer.”
The Times of Israel reminds that in 2016, Azerbaijan used another Israeli kamikaze drone, an Israeli Aerospace Industries Harop-model, in an attack on a bus that killed seven Armenians.