Three arrested in alleged wiretapping of Lieberman

Police say they suspect private detectives Rafi Fridan, Aviv Mor and right-wing activist Avigdor Eskin participated in criminal conspiracy.

Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman was back on the Israel Police's radar Monday, this time as an alleged victim of wiretapping. Police said they suspect that private detectives Rafi Fridan and Aviv Mor, both of Tel Aviv, and right-wing activist Avigdor Eskin participated in a criminal conspiracy to listen in on Russian immigrant businessman Michael Chernoy's telephone conversations, as well as those of Chernoy's secretary. Lieberman, who submitted an official complaint with police last week, believes the wiretapping of his friend's office was part of a plot to get information to politically discredit the Israel Beiteinu founder. International and Serious Crimes Unit police raided Fridan's, Mor's and Eskin's homes and offices early Monday morning and arrested all three. Officers close to the investigation said police had recovered "relevant materials." Later Monday, all three were taken before the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court, where police representatives requested remand extensions, claiming that there was a legitimate fear that the suspects might try to tamper with evidence or witnesses. Mor's and Fridan's remands were extended by four days, and Eskin's remand was extended by five days. Detectives believe there may be more suspects in the case. Police and attorneys hinted that this was merely the tip of the iceberg in a wider web of political intrigue. The three current suspects may face charges on a number of offenses, including carrying out illegal wiretapping, illegal use of a wiretap, conspiracy to commit a crime and violations of the Law for the Protection of Privacy. Fridan already had 42 previous offenses for illegal wiretapping, and Mor had "slightly fewer," police said Monday night. Eskin was one of the far-right-wing demonstrators at Rimonim Prison on Sunday who came to support former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir, as Amir's family attended his son's circumcision. Eskin also was involved in the pulsa denura cursing ceremony against Rabin shortly before his assassination.