An indictment has been filed at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court against a former Israel Defense Force brigadier general who was once in line to head the Israel Police over tax offenses.
Gal Hirsch, who left the military in 2006 amid criticism over the IDF’s failures in the Second Lebanon War, is accused of fraud, false reporting and alleged tax evasion valued at NIS 6.1 million ($1.9 million). The charges come at the conclusion of corruption probes into Hirsch’s business dealings as head of the defense services firm Defensive Shield after he left the IDF.
Last year, the state prosecutor’s office for tax and financial crimes informed Hirsch that it was considering indicting him and three others, for tax crimes that allegedly took place in 2007-2009.
According to prosecutors, the four men — Hirsch, Oded Shachnai, Yaniv Adam and Mikhael Benimini — were partners in Defensive Shield, a company that provided defense advice and military training and brokered arms sales to Georgia, and also provided services to other countries between 2007 and 2009.
Prosecutors allege that the men collectively enriched themselves to the tune of NIS 40 million (about $11.5 million), but failed to report this income to the Tax Authority.
The indictment alleges that the four business partners set up a web of companies and bank accounts in Israel, Georgia, Switzerland and Guernsey that they used to receive income from Georgia’s Defense Ministry, divvy it up among themselves, and hide it from Israel’s Tax Authority.
Channel 13 reported this week that Hirsch has been in touch with prosecutors in recent weeks about a possible plea deal, but the sides failed to reach an agreement.
Adam is facing a separate indictment after reaching a plea deal.