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Photo: Avi Cohen
Dudu Topaz during his arrest
Photo: Avi Cohen
Eiman Zabidath
Photo: Ofer Amram
Saliman Hiadra
Photo: Ofer Amram
Shira Margalit
Avi Nir
Police uncover plot to hurt media figures
Investigation of recent assaults on three of Israel's senior media personalities reveals what appears to be organized criminal conspiracy. Three suspects, inluding TV personality Dudu Topaz, arrested; police say more arrests likely to follow

The police on Sunday said they have uncovered an extensive plot to hurt Israel's top media brass.

 

Recent months have seen Avi Nir, CEO of Keshet TV, Reshet TV Vice President Shira Margalit – both franchise holders for Israel's Channel 2 Television, and top actors' agent Boaz Ben Zion assaulted to various degrees.

 

Entertainer and TV presenter Dudu Topaz was arrested Sunday at his Tel Aviv home on suspicion of being involved in the attacks, while security guards Saliman Hiadra (33) and Eiman Zabidath, (21) were arrested late Saturday night and were remanded by five days by the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court Sunday morning.

 

Police are reportedly in possession of records of calls indicating contact between Topaz and one of the other three suspects.

 

A fourth suspect, also a security guard, was detained Tuesday morning, and police assume more arrests will follow as the investigation proceeds.

 

Police Inspector Kobi Getanio told the court the suspects "are believed to have conspired to carry out several assaults on top media personnel." When asked by the court if the suspects were acting on behalf of anyone, Getanio asked to state for the record that the police "believe the acts were committed as part of a criminal conspiracy."

 

The two suspects, he added later, "were evidently working for someone."

 

The police asked the two be remanded for 12 days, but Judge Zion Kapah ruled they will be held in custody for an additional five days, at this point. Nevertheless, he said, "This should not be taken to hint to the possible course of any future trial."

 

The court also issued a partial gag order, barring the publication of the suspects' photos.

 


First published: 31.05.09, 12:18
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