House cleaner sentenced to 3 years for snooping on Gantz for Iranian hackers

A former cleaner at Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s private residence who was charged with spying for Iranian hackers late last year will serve three years in prison as part of a plea deal reached with the prosecution, the Rishon Lezion District Court ruled Tuesday.

Lod resident Omri Goren, 38, was found guilty of attempting to pass on information to an enemy entity. Under the plea deal, the espionage charges that were originally included in the indictment were dropped.

“[Goren] is not a spy and this isn’t a spying scandal,” said attorneys Gal Wolf and Anat Yaari, Goren’s representatives from the public defender’s office, after his sentencing.

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

Goren largely admitted to the allegations against him throughout the investigation but repeatedly denied that he knowingly offered to help Iran.

“Who says it was the Iranians? It was hackers on Telegram,” Goren told reporters while appearing in court via video link in December.

However, his interrogation suggested that he was well aware of the hackers’ Iranian affiliation, saying he had planned to trick them by collecting their money without providing them with 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,” Goren said during his interrogation, according to Channel 12.

Illustrative: Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his wife Revital pose for photos at their home in Rosh Haayin, Israel, September 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Goren was arrested in November last year. According to the indictment, he had contacted hackers from the Iranian-affiliated group Black Shadow on Telegram and offered to provide them with information about Gantz in exchange for money.

He also reportedly offered to plant a bug on Gantz’s computer in exchange for…