State prosecutors have begun poring over evidence on potential criminal ties between police and the Fifth Dimension tech firm, which was owned by now-Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz and went bankrupt last year.
According to the state’s response to a High Court of Justice petition submitted Sunday demanding a criminal investigation, the state comptroller in late October provided the Justice Ministry with materials relating to the allegations, which are currently being studied to determine whether further legal action is necessary.
In March, the State Comptroller’s Office said the Israel Police had negotiated a contract with the cybersecurity company, headed at the time by prime ministerial candidate Gantz, without issuing a tender, in violation of acquisition regulations.
State Comptroller Yosef Shapira also said in the report, which detailed alleged deficiencies in the police’s acquisition process, that Fifth Dimension presented law enforcement with false information about its operations.
The report prompted Gantz’s Likud political rivals to call for a criminal investigation. Gantz’s Blue and White party denied any wrongdoing on his part.
In September, Channel 13 reported that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ordered a new probe in the case. While Gantz himself is not under suspicion of wrongdoing, the report said, the Attorney General’s Office has requested information from the state comptroller regarding NIS 4 million ($1,134,120) granted to the firm for a pilot project with police, after company executives allegedly provided police with misleading information, as well as a NIS 50 million ($14 million) contract supposedly granted without the issuing of a tender, in violation of acquisition regulations.
The company went bankrupt in December 2018 because the US government sanctioned its largest investor, a Russian oligarch.
Mandelblit reportedly gave the order despite the state comptroller having found no evidence that criminal offenses were committed when he looked into the matter six months earlier.
Gantz, a former military chief of staff, retired from the army in 2015 and got involved in a number of business ventures, including as chairman of Fifth Dimension, which developed artificial intelligence solutions for law enforcement agencies.