Did Mossad chief jump into car-import business dispute?

The question is whether Cohen used his power as deputy Mossad chief to influence Halevi regarding the business dispute.

November 30, 2017 20:00
1 minute read.
The logo of KIA Motor at car dealership

The logo of KIA Motor at car dealership. (photo credit: REUTERS/DANIEL BECERRIL)

Mossad Director Yossi Cohen has been accused of intervening in a car import business dispute in 2013, when he was deputy chief of the spy agency.

The dispute between car-import businessmen Michael Levi and Rami Ungar dates back to 2007 and 2008, when Ungar succeeded in taking South Korea car distributing giant Kia Motor Corporation’s business from Levi, according to media reports.

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Levi sued Ungar for wrongful business interference in undermining his relationship with Kia.

Ungar eventually countersued, claiming Levi had employed illegal spying and hacking to invade and illegally collect secret company data.

One of the people whom Ungar said helped Levi spy and hack into Ungar’s systems, is former IDF special forces deputy chief Aviram Halevi.

On Wednesday, Halevi testified in Tel Aviv District Court that Cohen called him in 2013 and pressured him to meet with Ungar, media reports said.

Halevi eventually switched to Ungar’s side and has been providing information to Ungar and the court about spying and hacking actions he undertook against Ungar.

The question is whether Cohen used his power as deputy Mossad chief to influence Halevi regarding the business dispute, in which Cohen has a history with Ungar.

To date, Cohen has refused to testify.

However, Cohen sent a letter addressing the issue.

“I was not involved in ‘the web of pressures’ against Aviram Halevi or against anyone else,” said the letter posted online by Calcalist.

“In the first half of 2013, my friend, lawyer Dori Klogsblad, asked me if I knew Aviram Halevi. When I answered affirmatively, he asked me to make contact with Halevi. I made a telephone call to Aviram in which I said that lawyer Klogsblad was interested in speaking to him... Beyond this I have no connection to this matter,” Cohen wrote in the letter.

The current Mossad chief concluded that there is no reason to summon him as a witness and “I request you refrain from doing so.”

Cohen would not necessarily have immunity from testifying in a civil case unrelated to national security issues, but if he continues to resist testifying, he could only be compelled by a motion to the court.

The next hearing is to be held on December 12, according to Halevi’s lawyer, Roy Belcher.

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