Chief Military Prosecutor Brig. Gen. Danny Efroni on Sunday recommended that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein open a criminal investigation into the involvement of former IDF chief of general staff Gabi Ashkenazi and his aide, Col. Erez Weiner, in the so-called Harpaz affair.
Efroni indicated in his report that the two military men are suspected of fraud and breach of trust. Former state comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss had previously ordered a criminal investigation into the affair, without specifying Ashkenazi’s suspected culpability.
Efroni based his findings on a transcript of a phone conversation between Ashkenazi and Weiner which revealed that Ashkenazi knew about a forged document produced by Lt. Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz, which aimed to discredit Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant and torpedo his ascension to the military’s top post after Ashkenazi’s retirement last year.
In Efroni’s view, the transcript leaves no room for doubt regarding the necessity of a criminal investigation. Wiener, according to Efroni, is also suspected of conduct unbecoming of an officer.
The Harpaz affair began with a document purportedly linked to Ashkenazi, which was drawn up to smear potential successor Galant. The document was a forgery and it was authored in a way that tarred Galant, making him seem like an officer who would stop at nothing to climb the ladder to the very top.
Harpaz, a reserves officer in Military Intelligence and an acquaintance of Ashkenazi’s, admitted under police questioning (though he subsequently retracted his admission) that the document was a forgery.
The State Comptroller’s Office began investigating the affair in October 2010, but has yet to release its findings.
Last week, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz rescinded the promotion of Weiner to the post of chief educational officer due to his involvement in the “Harpaz affair.”