Ramon accuser testifies to police on being followed by PI firm
Vice premier says he was surprised by reports PI firm hired to look into actions of woman he forcibly kissed.
The woman whom Vice Premier Haim Ramon forcibly kissed last year testified Wednesday at the offices of the National Fraud Squad regarding the private investigations firm that was hired to follow her.
Ramon released a statement Wednesday morning in which he said that he was surprised by reports that a private investigations firm had been commissioned to look into the actions of the victim, referred to as "H."
Referring to Ephraim Kunda - the Ramon associate who allegedly ordered the private investigation - Ramon said that "Kunda is like a brother to me. In the past year, which was the most difficult year of my life, I had to muster up my strength more than one in order to calm Kunda down. Sometimes I felt like he had taken the results of my trial to heart more than I had. Those close to him know that that results of my trial affected his health...although I do not condone that act, I am sure that Kunda's intentions were honorable and that his actions stemmed from the belief that I had been wronged by the entire affair, and that he strove to expose the truth as he knew it."
"I put the affair behind me after the verdict. I want to make it absolutely clear that I was unaware that the investigation had been ordered or that it was being carried out and I never gave my consent over the subject. Although I had nothing ton do with the investigation, if the complainant was grieved, I apologize for it," Ramon added.
Police believe that Kunda, one of Ramon's close friends commissioned a private investigations firm to look into the actions of the young woman whom Ramon forcibly kissed last year.
According to the police investigation, which was launched following a probe by Haaretz, Ephraim Kunda "took it upon himself" to pay Wizman Yaar Investigations NIS 100,000 "to find evidence to undermine the young woman's credibility."
The police, who are investigating whether Wizman Yaar broke the law by following the young woman, yesterday questioned a private investigator, Dana Ben Shushan, who tried to get the complainant against Ramon to talk to her about the case.
The investigation was launched following a Haaretz article yesterday on the investigation which the private investigators conducted on the complainant, mentioned in the Israeli media only by the first letter of her name, H. The complainant confirmed that she had been approached by a woman matching Dana Ban Shushan's description.
Following the probe, the complainant decided to go to the police and the state attorney's office to report the incident. Ramon was convicted in January for forcibly kissing the complainant. State Attorney Eran Shendar, who is following the investigation closely, said that the private probe against the complainant could constitute witness harassment.
The police are unsure whether the investigation firm's actions were illegal. The firm denies that they were. Some police officials say that their investigation shows that witness harassment had indeed occurred. Other officials doubt that the findings could support an indictment.
Ramon wasn't called in for questioning on his involvement in the matter. Before he is called in, police will have to obtain the approval of the attorney general. Police officials told Haaretz they thought Ramon should be called in. Ramon's reaction and that of Kunda could not be attained.
Jonathan Lis and Yigal Hai contributed to this article.