Yuval Diskin, the former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, played an important role in the Volkswagen diesel scandal, according to a report in WirtschaftsWoche.
Together with Avi Primor, the former Israeli ambassador to Germany, Mr. Diskin met Ferdinand Piëch in February 2015 for a confidential interview with Volkswagen’s then-chairman of the supervisory board. Mr. Diskin, who left the secret service in 2011 and then founded cyber security company Diskin Advanced Technologies, wanted to sell security services to Volkswagen.
Mr. Primor confirmed the meeting in an interview with WirtschaftsWoche: “I’m friends with Yuval Diskin and I did him a favor,” he said, adding that together they had meetings with “various German companies including Volkswagen.”
The diplomat denied being involved in anything business-related and emphasized he “only made contacts” for Mr. Diskin.
According to earlier media reports, Mr. Primor informed Mr. Piëch about an impending emissions scandal about to affect the German carmaker in the United States.
The classified information used by Mr. Primor came from an “Israeli security company,” according to German tabloid Bild.
The former ambassador declined to confirm whether this company was Diskin Advanced Technologies. “I have nothing to say about the VW scandal. Nothing at all,” he said.
The meeting with Mr. Piëch paid off for Mr. Diskin: In 2016, the Wolfsburg-based auto maker founded Cymotive Technologies, a security company headquartered in Herzliya, Israel, together with Mr. Diskin. The company aims to close gaps in the safety systems of networked cars.
Volkswagen’s subsidiary AutoVision owns 40 percent of Cymotive and the rest is owned by Mr. Diskin and two other former intelligence agents.
German intelligence experts assume that Mr. Primor’s information on the impending outbreak of the Dieselgate was passed on from U.S. services to Israeli services.
“The Israeli intelligence services have long been working very closely and amicably with their counterparts in the U.S.,” sources at the Federal Intelligence Agency said.