katsav appeal 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Police are adamant that two private investigators hired on behalf of
ex-president Moshe Katsav to gather information to undermine witnesses from his
rape trial, crossed a legal line by harassing witnesses and violating their
RELATED:Police: Katsav hired PIs to undermine accusers Supreme Court refuses Katsav request for more judges
But Moshe Ben-David, CEO of the Karmiel-based Ben- David Hakirot
PI Offices and a member of the Israel Bureau of Private Investigators,
challenged the police’s view.
Addressing suspicions that one of the PIs
allegedly hired by Katsav or his brother failed to have a license, Ben-David
said working in the field illegally was a severe offense.
“It makes it
bad for the rest of us. In Israel, there are 400 legal PIs and 6,200 unlicensed
PIs,” he said.
But had the PI in question been working with a license,
there would be nothing illegal about the fact that he pretended to be a film
director when he approached individuals to gather information, Ben-David said,
adding that the law was clear about whom PIs are allowed to
For example, PIs cannot claim they are licensed
professionals – such as lawyers, police officers, or accountants – Ben-David
“You don’t need a license to make films, so a licensed PI can claim
he is doing that,” he added.
A year ago, Ben-David was hired to
investigate allegations of rape made by a young woman against her former
partner. He said he found the woman saying that the man she accused of raping
her had two options, “either marry her or nothing.”
subsequently arrested by police and accused by detectives of harassing a
“They never used my evidence,” Ben-David said, adding that
police and private investigators have suffered from a poor relationship for
“Police are in a panic when private investigators enter the scene
and discover new evidence. But if the witnesses already testified, this
is not harassment,” Ben-David argued.
Yet, the Globes newspaper, quoting
clause 249 of the criminal law book, said anyone found “harassing a person
regarding testimony he gave, or is about to give, in a legal investigation” is
guilty of an offense punishable by three years in prison.”
witness would be to offer them money to not testify. That disrupts an
But here, Katsav is heading to a Supreme Court appeal and
would like to present new evidence,” Ben-David said.
Ben-David, who is
licensed to work abroad as a PI, said the relationship between police and PIs in
other countries such as the US, Holland and Australia, is far more cooperative
than in Israel.
“I’ve built up cases together with officers abroad,
because they recognize that we have good information,” he said.
that the laws regulating the work of PIs date back to 1977 and are
Requests sent to the Justice Ministry to formulate a new set of
clearer laws have not been answered, Ben-David said.