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(photo credit: Channel 10)
The Tel Aviv District Court decided on Thursday to uphold the freeze on one of Dudu Topaz's bank accounts until a decision is made next week on the disgraced entertainer's offer to mortgage his million-dollar penthouse instead.
After the hearing, during which Topaz came face-to-face with the victim of one of the alleged attacks he instigated, Topaz said he planned to compensate anyone he had harmed, and asked for forgiveness, according to his lawyer. However, the lawyer added that he felt the account freeze, requested by the Keshet television network, was just an attempt to cause him more damage.
Topaz has been charged with ordering a string of violent attacks directed at high-profile media figures who rejected his ideas for television programs. He allegedly paid NIS 13,000 for the assault on Keshet network chief Avi Nir.
Last November, Nir was confronted by two men near his north Tel Aviv home and severely beaten with clubs. He was rushed to the hospital covered in blood, suffering a broken nose, cuts to his face, and broken ribs.
During the hearing, Nir spoke of the lasting damage the attack had caused him.
"Since the attack, my management has been impaired. Nobody suffering from the problems I have suffered can run such a complex organization the way he has before," he said. "If I felt like I was flying over the last decade, over the last six months, I have felt as if I have been climbing a mountain with a heavy sack on my back."
At one point, Topaz interrupted Nir's testimony, shouting, "Enough, enough! It's not true. Do you want an electric chair and all my money? That's what you want? For me to die? Take the money. Please, enough!"
"I have been severely harmed, starting with an attempt to ruin my marriage, the attack which nearly led to my death, and the threatening letters I received weekly, which ended with the words, 'You're going to die,'" continued Nir in court Thursday.
He said the case "summed up a series of brutal and merciless incidents."
"I went through a very rough patch. A security firm was hired to protect me and my house," he said. "I am living under constant threat to my life. Ten days ago, I was informed of a plan to throw a grenade at my house. The security is an existential need."
The request to freeze Topaz's money was submitted by Keshet and Nir two weeks ago after they stated their intention to file a civil case against the entertainer. The court accepted the request, but gave the order a 30-day limit, at the end of which the civil case will have to be filed.
Actors' agent Boaz Ben-Zion, also attacked in an assault allegedly ordered by Topaz, attended the hearing to show his support for Nir.
In his petition, Topaz claimed that freezing his account, which reportedly contains NIS 5 million, was "an illegal act of revenge."