Likud presses for probe into police no-bid deal with Gantz security firm
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Likud presses for probe into police no-bid deal with Gantz security firm

Netanyahu’s party demands to know why top cop Alsheich chose services of former IDF chief’s failing company, when others provided better options

Israel Resilience party chairman Benny Gantz speaks at the 55th Munich Security Conference in southern Germany, February 17, 2019. (Thomas Kienzle/AFP)
Israel Resilience party chairman Benny Gantz speaks at the 55th Munich Security Conference in southern Germany, February 17, 2019. (Thomas Kienzle/AFP)

The Likud party filed an official request on Sunday asking the attorney general investigate Benny Gantz and former police chief Roni Alsheich, in the wake of a report claiming police invested millions of shekels in the cybersecurity company belonging to the Israel Resilience party chairman without a tender.

After completing his term as IDF chief of staff in 2015, Gantz got involved in a number of business ventures, including one as chairman of a firm called Fifth Dimension, which went bankrupt roughly three years later.

Haaretz reported on Friday that before the bankruptcy, Israel Police invested millions in an unspecified pilot program run by the now defunct company that offered artificial intelligence solutions to law enforcement agencies. The report said that the joint venture amounting to NIS 4 million ($1.1 million) went ahead in 2017, without a tender, as required by law.

In a complaint filed to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Likud attorney Michael Dvorin stated that “the circumstances of the engagement are rather puzzling and require a thorough examination by the enforcement authorities.”

Former Israeli chief of police, Roni Alsheich, speaks at a conference in Kfar Maccabiah, Ramat Gan, January 8, 2019. (Flash90)

“Even though there are other companies that offer competing and much more successful services, the police, under the leadership of Mr. Alsheich, chose to enter into a contract without preparing a tender,” the Likud attorney wrote, also questioning why the investment was concealed from the public.

While the State Comptroller’s Office is slated to release a report on the nature of the deal between the police’s and Gantz’s Fifth Dimension firm in the coming months, Dvorin argued that a separate police probe was necessary to look into why the police chose the former IDF chief’s firm over its competitors “that offer competing and much more successful services.”

The Likud attorney asked that Mandelblit look into the matter and publish his findings before the April elections, “so that voters will have full information regarding the involvements of Israel Resilience party chairman Benny Gantz.”

Neither Gantz nor his party released a statement on the letter. Likud and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been harshly critical of Gantz, who poses the biggest threat to him in upcoming elections, as well as toward the police over a series of corruption investigations against the premier.

In an interview with the Yedioth Ahronoth daily earlier this month, Gantz admitted that the firm had been “unsuccessful,” but appeared to shy away from taking complete responsibility for the loss of $40 in investments.

“I was the chairman of the company, but it also had a CEO and investors. It’s a slightly more complex story,” he said.

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