(photo credit: PR)
It was hyped as the “Watergate of the Israeli entertainment industry,” but now it appears that the so-called wiretapping and hacking of top singer Eyal Golan may have been nothing more than a hoax.
On Sunday morning, a suspect was ordered held at a remand hearing in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on suspicion of fabricating a hack and wiretap of Golan, whom he had helped with computer issues. The court hearing came less than a week after the 27-year-old, who knew Golan through his circle of friends, approached the singer and his associates, saying that enemies of the pop star had set up a wiretapping device outside his house and had broken into his email.
Last Monday, Golan and his personal manager, Benny Peretz, lodged a complaint to the fraud branch of the Tel Aviv Police, saying that they had evidence that Golan was the victim of computer hacking and that a wiretap had been used against the singer for the past two years, in order to extort money from him and sully his reputation during a sex crimes investigation against him and his father in 2013.
Associates of Golan spoke of the case as a sort of “Watergate of the Israeli entertainment industry” that might expose an elaborate conspiracy against the entertainer.
The day after the complaint was filed, police began questioning the computer technician and quickly began to suspect that the entire hacking allegation was fabricated.
An officer with the Tel Aviv Police said on Sunday that they believe the man simply wanted to get closer to Golan and his entourage, and therefore wanted to make himself useful. The officer said that the suspect was not hired by Golan and was not a professional computer technician, rather, he approached the singer’s associates saying he knew of a possible computer security breach.
He then presented documents and emails purporting to show evidence of the attack, which police said were quickly proven to be false.
Last Monday, the suspect’s attorney Ofer Dakar said that his client has no connection to any sort of fabrication and had been asked by Golan’s people to check whether they were being wiretapped. The suspect was released to house arrest on Sunday, and his case has been passed to the State Attorney’s Office, police said.
On Thursday, Golan wrote on his Facebook page, “Over the past few hours there have been rumors that the wiretaps were a PR stunt. It’s important to me to emphasize that we gave police everything we had through our attorneys and if the case is true it’s a scandal and if it’s not it’s an even bigger scandal.”
Golan, 44, has been in the news the past two years for his personal life much more than for music.
In April, his father, Dani Biton, was sentenced to two years in prison after accepting a plea bargain in a sex crimes case. Biton was convicted of using his connection to his son to receive sexual favors from underage females. The case sparked a full-on media circus, with Golan himself being arrested, though the case against him was later dropped.
Golan suffered a series of concert cancellations and was dropped as a host on a reality TV singing show, but his career has since recovered.
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