The FBI and the Israel Police have been conducting a two-year undercover corruption investigation into businesses linked to the government’s nominee for Israel Police chief Gal Hirsch, Channel 2 reported Friday.
According to the report, details from the investigation have been passed on to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.
A statement from Weinstein’s office earlier Friday said that he was looking into new information he received regarding companies linked to Hirsch, who was named this week as the government’s choice to head the Israel Police.
The Channel 2 report said that no witnesses had yet been interviewed in the investigation, and stressed that there was no proven direct link to Hirsch.
According to Channel 10, Weinstein’s office said he has recently received “various information pertaining to the activities of civilian companies, whose activities were connected to Gal Hirsch in the years following his departure from the IDF.”
Furthermore, the statement from Weinstein said, “A team comprising members of the Justice Ministry will investigate the issue and compile their findings as soon as possible, and present them to (me) in order to formulate a legal position on the matter.”
After leaving the IDF under a cloud of controversy following the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hirsch became CEO of Defensive Shield Holdings, a company that describes itself as “provider of strategic, operational and tactical solutions for the defense, security and homeland security sectors around the world.”
Defensive Shield was also the name of the 2002 IDF operation against terror groups in the West Bank, in which Hirsch was praised for his conduct.
Meanwhile, Haaretz reported Friday that the police investigation into allegations of financial misconduct by Hirsch’s security consulting business was passed on to Justice Ministry officials weeks before he was considered as a candidate for the role of police commissioner.
Maj. Gen. Meni Yitzhaki, the head of the Israel Police fraud investigations task force, Unit 443, informed Weinstein over a month ago of the ongoing investigation into the role of Hirsch’s company in providing potentially improper defense contracts to clients, Haaretz said.
The investigation centers on complaints against specific transactions carried out by the security consulting company in 2008 and again more recently, the report stated.
According to the report, Erdan did not inform Weinsten of his decision to nominate Hirsch before announcing his pick.
Hirsch’s lawyer, Dror Brotfeld, denied all of the allegations, and said the claims of financial misconduct were an attempt by Hirsch’s opponents to have his controversial appointment rescinded, the Walla website reported Friday.
“All of the financial reports pertaining to Defensive Shield have been audited and reported in accordance with the law. The company is run legally, and is properly supervised by the Ministry of Defense, all of its operations are coordinated and carried out in accordance with authorization and legal permits,” he said.
“Unfortunately, it appears that various parties have banded together in an attempt to prevent the appointment of Hirsch at any cost, however we are sure these attempts will not be unsuccessful.”