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Monday, August 23, 2010

Police arrest suspect in Galant document affair upon arrival in Israel

An Israeli businessman and former high-ranking Israel Defense Forces officer suspected of forging the Galant document has been arrested upon arrival at Ben-Gurion International Airport, Israel Police said on Monday.

Police on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Lt. Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz, who has been linked to the so-called Galant document, which purports to outline a PR campaign for Major-General Yoav Galant in his efforts to become the next Israel Defense Forces chief of staff.

On Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak ended weeks of speculation by naming Galant as the next IDF chief of staff.

Harpaz, who arrived in Israel from Europe on an inbound flight to Ben-Gurion Airport, was arrested at 14:30 P.M. on Monday, and is expected to face a Petah Tikvah magistrate's court for a remand hearing on noon Tuesday.

The former IDF top officer had served on the general staff of Israel Defense Force's Military Intelligence Directorate, leaving the army about nine years ago amid controversy, as he was accused by some of mishandling secured information.

At the time, Harpaz considered the accusations to be a part of a personal smear campaign against him, saying that then head of military intelligence Major General Aharon Zeevi was singling him out for personal reasons.

Harpaz, who wished to retain his security clearance after his release from the IDF, led a legal battle against the Shin Bet on the matter.

Since his release Harpaz has worked as a businessman and security advisor, as the president of the Pickel Security company, until he left the firm following a row with the firm's other partners, ex-Mossad man Ami Yaar and Gabriel Yabetz.

Harpez then founded his own security counseling firm, PICSEC, which has operated in Italy, among other locations, and which has also dealt with port security.

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