Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for a corruption investigation to be opened into his main political rival, head of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) alliance Benny Gantz, after a 50 million shekel ($13.7 million) business deal between the latter’s company and the Israel Police came to light.
Israel’s State Comptroller, Joseph Shapira, yesterday revealed that the Israeli Police awarded a project worth 50 million shekels to Fifth Dimension, a cyber-security firm at which Gantz was chairman of the board at the time.
#Netanyahu calls for corruption investigation into Gantz after police deal exposed
— Shehab News (@ShehabAgencyEn) March 28, 2019
According to Haaretz, Shapira found that “the job was awarded to Fifth Dimension without [the Israel Police] inviting bids from other suppliers,” a move which violates regulations requiring that the police put out a public tender for its contracts.
Though Shapira’s report did not mention Fifth Dimension or Gantz by name, referring only to “Company A”, the Jerusalem Post explains that “the timing and developments described regarding ‘Company A’ in the report match up with Fifth Dimension’s business dealings with the police”.
Likud to A-G: Probe Gantz over company's alleged corruption https://t.co/voANqKJxk9
— MAKSAN DANIELE (@DIDimmix) March 27, 2019
The report detailed how “‘Company A’ was given an unfair advantage [by being] present during internal police meetings about whom to choose for the supplier role that Company A was competing for”.
The revelations could have far-reaching repercussions for Israel’s upcoming general election on April 9, in which Gantz and Netanyahu are currently polling neck-and-neck.
As new polls show little movement and little hope for #Netanyahu’s challenger, Benny #Gantz gets embroiled in a massive #corruption scandal#IsraeliElections https://t.co/06KMOAOIS1 pic.twitter.com/NlKK9e85xz
— L Todd Wood (@LToddWood) March 28, 2019
Netanyahu was quick to capitalize on the State Comptroller’s report, accusing Gantz of corruption and writing on Twitter:
“Investigate Benny Gantz now.”
לחקור עכשיו את בני גנץ https://t.co/Tilo9xH3M7
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) March 27, 2019
Netanyahu’s Likud party has also called on Israel’s Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, to launch an investigation into the Blue and White leader, saying:
“Gantz illegally contacted former Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh in an attempt to fraudulently take NIS 50 million of the public’s money for the Fifth Dimension, which he headed.”
Meanwhile, Gantz and his Blue and White alliance have refuted allegations of corruption, stressing that the State Comptroller’s report focuses on the misconduct of the Israel Police and not Fifth Dimension.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)