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Source: Black Cube decided in July they 'could not help' Weinstein any more

Le producteur américain Harvey Weinstein le 28 février 2016 à Hollywood
JEAN BAPTISTE LACROIX (AFP/Archives)
Now former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak is implicated in the scandal

While working for disgraced director Harvey Weinstein, Israeli private intelligence firm Black Cube obtained a partial transcript of a book by actress Rose McGowan that was set to lift the lid on sexual misconduct in Hollywood, but ended its relationship with Weinstein when "they felt they could not help him anymore," a source familiar with the investigations told i24NEWS on Tuesday.

On Monday The New Yorker published an expose alleging that Weinstein, who faces up to one hundred accusations of sexual misconduct, assault and rape, hired a legion of highly trained spies, including former operatives from Israel's elite Mossad intelligence agency, in order to suppress accusers from going public with claims against him.

Among the private security agencies hired by Weinstein starting around fall 2016, the magazine said, was corporate intelligence giant Kroll and Black Cube, which is largely run by former officers of Israel's Mossad and offers clients the skills of operatives "highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units."

On Tuesday a source familiar with the investigative work done for Weinstein confirmed to i24NEWS that "Black Cube was hired in the spring to find out about the people who were launching a campaign against Harvey Weinstein: shareholders, partners, journalists and actress Rose McGowan."

The New Yorker reported that two Black Cube operatives using false identities met with actress Rose McGowan before she publicly accused Weinstein of raping her, in order to glean information about what she was set to reveal.

One of the investigators, who posed as a women's rights advocate, secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan, said the magazine, citing dozens of pages of documents and seven people directly involved in Weinstein's efforts to suppress accusations against him.

"Black Cube was able to get part of the transcript of McGowan's book through an undercover agent," the source confirmed, adding that the company "never broke any laws."

Black Cube maintains several offices around the world, including in Tel Aviv, from where it has reportedly been hired by several high-profile Israeli businessman to carry out shadowy corporate intelligence activities.

In April 2016 an Israeli employee of the company was convicted in Romania of attempted intimidation and email "piracy" of the country's anti-corruption chief.

STAFF (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File)

Also on Tuesday, Channel Two reported that former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak helped connect Weinstein with the company. 

A spokesperson for Barak told the channel that "over a year ago" Weinstein asked Barak for a recommendation of an Israel company who could help him with "business issues" he faced, and the former premier and defense minister duly handed over contacts for the murky firm, adding that he was not aware until Tuesday what the services were that Weinstein was after. 

According to the New Yorker, the company used the same agent -- equipped with another different fake identity -- to also meet with a journalist while falsely claiming to have an accusation against Weinstein, all in order to learn which women were talking to the media.

Journalists themselves were enlisted by both Weinstein and the private eyes in order to extract details from women who were making claims against Weinstein.

According to a contract signed in July with Black Cube, the explicit goal of the investigations was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein, which eventually emerged last month in bombshell reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker.

During his yearlong effort, Weinstein and his team would collect information on dozens of people, compiling psychological profiles with their personal or sexual histories in order to contradict, discredit or intimidate his targets.

Asked if at some point Black Cube came to the conclusion that Weinstein was guilty, the source said the company "ended its work for Weinstein in July. They felt that they could not help him any more."

A Black Cube spokesperson told the magazine that they do not comment on the details of their work, and added that "it should be highlighted that Black Cube applies high moral standards to its work, and operates in full compliance with the law of any jurisdiction in which it operates—strictly following the guidance and legal opinions provided by leading law firms from around the world.”

Investigations also sometimes went through Weinstein's lawyers, according to the magazine. Among them was David Boies, who represented Al Gore in his 2000 presidential election dispute with George W. Bush.

A Black Cube spokesperson told the magazine that they do not comment on the details of their work, and added that "it should be highlighted that Black Cube applies high moral standards to its work, and operates in full compliance with the law of any jurisdiction in which it operates—strictly following the guidance and legal opinions provided by leading law firms from around the world.”

The New Yorker said Boies himself had signed a contract demanding that Black Cube seek to uncover information to stop the publication of a New York Times story about Weinstein's sexual abuse at the same time his firm was also representing the Times in a libel case.

Boies told the magazine "it was a mistake" to have been involved with the investigators.

Weinstein's spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister dismissed the report, saying: "It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time."

Neither Hofmeister nor Boies immediately responded to requests for comment.

Television Academy expels Weinstein

ROBYN BECK (AFP/File)

The new report came as the Television Academy, which hands out Emmy Awards, was said to have expelled Weinstein "for life," following a similar move by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which gives out the Oscars.

Police launched investigations in London, Los Angeles and New York after around 100 women accused Weinstein, once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to rape.

Meanwhile, industry publication Variety said the Television Academy has voted to permanently expel Weinstein.

"The Academy supports those speaking out against harassment in all forms and stands behind those who have been affected by this issue," it told Variety, adding that it was reviewing the organization's code of conduct.

"The unfolding and widespread examples of this horrific behavior are deeply disturbing to the Academy's leadership.

"We are determined to play a role in protecting all television professionals from predatory harassment, ensuring they are able to practice their craft in a safe environment."

i24NEWS anchor and correspondent Jordana Miller contributed to this report

Comments

(1)

Lock him up. He his highly toxic.

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