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3 years in jail for Gantz’s former housekeeper over spying for Iran

September 7, 2022 at 11:08 am

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Jerusalem on 8 April 2022 [GPO/Anadolu Agency]

An Israeli court sentenced the former housekeeper of Defence Minister Benny Gantz to three years in prison over attempts to pass information to a hacking group allegedly linked to Iran, local media reported yesterday.

Omri Goren, 38, was sent to prison under a plea deal that saw prosecutors drop espionage charges against him.

Goren, according to the Israeli Justice Ministry, proposed to send Black Shadow hackers information on Gantz and put malware on his computer in exchange for money.

However, he denied he knew that the hackers were linked to Iran and that his actions would be considered spying for an enemy.

“[He] is not a spy and this isn’t a spying scandal,” his lawyers were quoted by the Times of Israel as saying after the sentence was announced.

“This is about a man who found himself entangled in debt and identified a security breach,” they added.

READ: Shin Bet recognises failure in background check of Gantz’s cleaner

Meanwhile, Goren told reporters in December: “Who says it was the Iranians? It was hackers on Telegram.”

At the same time, his interrogation suggested he was well aware that the hackers were Iranian, but said he had planned to trick them by collecting their money without providing them anything.

“If they would have waited a few days before arresting me they’d see that I’m not a spy. I wanted to trick the Iranians and take their money without sending them any photo or documents,” Channel 12 reported him telling interrogators.