Israel Police Question Former Senior IDF Officer Gal Hirsch Under Caution

Gal Hirsch, the former senior army officer who almost became police commissioner last year, was questioned under caution by the Israel Police’s fraud squad on Tuesday.

After leaving the army with the rank of brigadier general, Hirsch started a security consulting company, Defensive Shield.

He and four other senior company executives were questioned for several hours on Tuesday over deals in Georgia that raised suspicions of bribery, aggravated fraud, money laundering and tax offenses.

Police suspect the executives used fraud and bribery to obtain contracts worth tens of millions of dollars.

The person they are suspected of bribing is Georgia’s former defense minister, David Kezerashvili.

Police believe the bribes were mediated by a personal friend of Kezerashvili’s who knows Hirsch.

Police also suspect that in one particular project, the executives fraudulently obtained payments much larger than those to which they were entitled.

The investigation is part of a larger international case that began overseas.

After the Israeli firm’s name arose as part of the international probe, foreign law enforcement agencies notified their Israeli counterparts, and police then launched an undercover investigation.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan was unaware of this probe when he announced Hirsch as his nominee for police commissioner last year.

But the investigation soon became public knowledge, forcing Hirsch to withdraw his candidacy.

The police have also deposed a number of witnesses at the request of overseas investigators, to help them build their cases.

The Tax Authority and the Tel Aviv prosecution are assisting in the investigation.

The current probe is unrelated to a separate investigation against Hirsch and his company over the removal of unexploded ordnance from Rishon Letzion’s beaches.

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