State closes one of its probes into former general who was top cop nominee
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State closes one of its probes into former general who was top cop nominee

Prosecution tells Gal Hirsch it is ending investigations into dubious contract for mine clearing; other probe still ongoing

Former IDF Brigadier General Gal Hirsch speaks at an event at the IDC Hezliya. January 2, 2017. (FLASH90)
Former IDF Brigadier General Gal Hirsch speaks at an event at the IDC Hezliya. January 2, 2017. (FLASH90)

The prosecution told a former top general who was candidate for Israel Police commissioner that it has closed one of its investigations into his suspected shady business dealings, Hebrew media reports said Sunday.

Police had been investigating how retired IDF Brig. Gen. Gal Hirsch gained a contract to clear mines from Rishon Lezion beach for the company Defensive Shield, owned jointly by him and others. Prosecutors said they had found no evidence of wrongdoing in the case.

However, another investigation into his dealings in the country of Georgia was still ongoing, the Hebrew media reports said.

Hirsch was nominated for the position of police commissioner by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan in August 2015, but shortly after his nomination was announced, media reports surfaced saying that the FBI and Israel Police had been conducting a two-year undercover corruption investigation into businesses linked to him.

Hirsch’s nomination was revoked a month later by Erdan after then-attorney general Yehuda Weinstein said that he could not be legally appointed until the conclusion of the investigation against him, a process that Weinstein said at the time could take months.

Illustrative: The offices of Israel Police's Lahav 433 Unit in Lod. (Flash 90)
Illustrative: The offices of Israel Police’s Lahav 433 Unit in Lod. (Flash90)

Police had enlisted a state’s witness against Hirsch, and part of his evidence provided reportedly includes the bank account information of a disgraced minister of Israeli origin in the Georgian government to whom Hirsch’s company Defense Shield Holdings allegedly paid bribes as part of a deal with Defensive Shield to siphon state money.

In addition to Hirsch, four other senior employees of Defense Shield are under investigation by police for a variety of charges, including bribery, fraud and money laundering, the report said.

After leaving the IDF under a cloud of controversy following the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hirsch became CEO of Defensive Shield, which describes itself as a “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.

Former IDF brig. gen. Gal Hirsch (Moshe Milner/GPO/ Flash 90)
Former IDF brig. gen. Gal Hirsch (Moshe Milner/GPO/ Flash90)

A once-promising senior officer who seemed bound for greatness in the IDF, Hirsch was forced out of active duty in the wake of the 2006 war, amid criticism over his failure to prevent the kidnapping and killing of two soldiers that led to the conflict.

Shortly after his name was removed from contention for the top police spot, Hirsch said that “a systematic series of mudslinging incidents and efforts to blacken my name” were responsible for derailing his candidacy, while also saying he never actively sought the job.

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