Israeli Editor Arrested For Illegal Wiretapping Arrest Part Of Broader Eavesdropping Investigation
Police arrested the publisher and editor-in-chief of Israel’s second-largest newspaper Saturday on suspicion of illegal wiretapping.
The arrest was part of year-old wiretapping investigation involving Maariv and the leading Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aharonoth. Legislators have demanded tighter regulations on wiretapping by state and private organizations.
Maariv publisher Ofer Nimrodi, son of the well-known arms dealer Yaakov Nimrodi, was arrested at Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv as he prepared to go to Zurich, Switzerland, Israel television reported.
Nimrodi wasn’t immediately charged. Police haven’t given a possible motive, or even said specifically what crimes they are investigating.
Television reports showed Nimrodi being taken into custody and of police searching his home and carrying off crates filled with thousands of documents.
“I am convinced that when things are clarified, it will become clear there was no reason for the arrest,” Shuki Stein, Nimrodi’s attorney, told Israel television. “It was done to apply pressure and call public attention (to the affair).”
National police spokesman Eric Bar-Chen said six suspects were arrested Saturday. Their names were not revealed, but Bar-Chen said the suspects included private investigators and owners of private investigation firms.
Israel TV said Nimrodi was arrested along with Mordechai Katz, attorney for two private investigators who were convicted in 1994 for wiretapping.
David Ronen, head of security at Maariv, was also arrested on suspicion he ordered wiretappings for Nimrodi, it reported.
The investigation began in April 1994 after an executive at a woman’s magazine filed a complaint with police that her home telephone was tapped.
It took on steam when private investigators Rafi Fridan and Yaakov Tsur were found responsible for wiretapping over 400 telephone, cellular phone and fax lines. Tsur and Fridan were convicted last year.
Their list included phone lines belonging to the country’s president, the defense ministry, other government offices, members of parliament, attorneys and businessmen as well as a large number of newspaper and broadcast editors.
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