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Ruth and Michael Haefrati pleaded guilty to most of the charges in the Trojan Horse Affair Tuesday as part of a plea bargain. They admitted creating the program and then selling it to three private investigations firms. The investigators paid the couple NIS 2,000 for every company or person who fell victim to the program.
Haefratis' lawyer and the Tel Aviv District Attorney's Office presented a plea bargain to the court according to which Ruth Haefrati would serve four years in prison and pay a NIS 1,000,000 fine. Her husband Michael would serve two years and also pay a NIS 1,000,000 fine. The court has not yet approved the details of the plea.
The Tel Aviv District Attorney's Office on Sunday filed a 65-page indictment against the creators and distributors of the Trojan Horse spy program, but simultaneously announced it had reached a plea bargain agreement with the defendants.
'There is a plea bargain agreement with Ruth and Michael Haephrati, but the prosecution customarily presents the agreement to the court, and this is what we will do in this case as well,' said Attorney Haim Wismonsky, senior deputy to the Tel Aviv District Attorney (Criminal Affairs) Sunday. He told reporters that the defendants, Ruth and Michael Haefrati, had confessed to most of the charges against them.
In the indictment, the Haephratis were accused of developing a program known as The Trojan Horse, which was capable of revealing many details of the contents of computers belonging to others.
Michael Haefrati developed and refined the program while his wife, Ruth, marketed it and maintained contact with several private investigation companies which bought it and installed it in the computers of its clients' rivals.
The private investigation companies included Balali-Philosof Investigations, Krochmal Special Investigations and Modi'in Ezrahi - Investigations. The indictment included three separate sections on the relations between the Haephratis and each of the three companies and included appendices listing the victims who were spied on by each one of them. The victims included the Hot Group, Zilumatik, Mei Eden, Ace, Shekem Electric, Dubek, Steimatzki, Champion Motors, Ran Rahav Communications and Public Relations, Gestetner and many others.
The couple were also accused of spying on the computer of Amnon Jacont and writer Varda Raziel-Jacont. Sections of a book the couple co-wrote mysteriously appeared on the Internet before it was published. Michael Haephrati had been married to Raziel-Jacont's daughter, Natalia. They became suspicious of Haephrati when he signed a nasty review of the book which appeared on the iInternet with the secret code Jacont was using at the time to log on to his e-mail account. It was their complaint that led to the investigation against their former son-in-law and his current wife.
According to the indictment, Ruth Haephrati was the main culprit in the affair. She was the one who was in touch with the clients and who tried to expand business by seeking new customers. The prosecution regarded Michael as Ruth's assistant and the charges filed against him were less severe. Although he knew about her business efforts, his job was to perfect the program and tailor it to the needs of specific clients.