Eyal Golan. the singer at the center of an underage sex scandal, was released into house arrest late Wednesday, following several hours of police interrogation.
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Earlier on Wednesday, a court gag order on the scandal was lifted, allowing Golan to be named.
Golan and two of the other suspects in the case were put under house arrest for five days. Police are seeking to keep two other suspects, including Golan’s father, in jail. They will be brought to court for a remand hearing on Thursday.
Golan, who is suspected in having sexual relations with minors, was taken to Tel Aviv District's central unit Wednesday morning, where he was questioned on the suspicions against him.
Police are investigating the testimony of one of the girls who claimed she arrived with Golan to a show in Caesarea, where she and the singer engaged in a sexual act behind the scenes. Golan denied these claims when they were presented to him.
Golan's line of defense throughout the entire affair has been that he did not know at any point in time that the girls in question were minors.
Also on Wednesday morning, police went to the homes of several suspects in the case. One of the homes they went to was that of Golan’s father, a major figure in the case who is suspected of having procured the underage girls.
The singer’s father is alleged to have used his son’s celebrity status to have sexual relations with the minors on various occasions, during which the singer and other figures also participated.
A total of six men were questioned by police on Wednesday morning. Golan's PR representative, whose name cannot yet be published, was among them.
Police also suspect that a radio station manager who is involved in the case had sexual relations with at least one of the minors. He and the singer’s father are suspected of having had sexual relations with the same minor in the station manager’s apartment as they smoked drugs. His attorney, Ari Shamay, said the whole purpose of the case was to garner good public-relations for the police. “This is the first time that police have arrested people to move investigations forward and promote the police’s work,” he said. “It will end in nothing.”
The Tel Aviv District Police hope to conclude the investigation in the next few days and reveal the identities of the other suspects. Once the preliminary investigation has been completed and the suspects notified of the charges against them, the police will decide whether to have their remands extended.
So far, six girls have testified to police, describing their relationships with the singer and those around him, and police are cross-checking their accounts.
During the investigation, police found a large number of text messages sent by the suspects, Golan’s father first among them. In the messages, the suspect described the events he had attended, as well as his “experience” with the minors. Police have testimony that in at least one instance, Golan gave one of the minors a credit card in his possession so that she could buy herself items at a shopping mall.
Once evidence had been collected against the main suspects in the case, police learned that seven other men allegedly had sexual relations with the minors, knowing that they were underage and in school. According to the testimonies gathered by police, the men paid for restaurant meals, clothing and vacations for the minors, and promised them social gatherings with the singer.
Police claim that the singer’s father told the underage girls that the singer would visit whenever he asked. The singer’s father is believed to be the major player among the group of suspects. Police are looking into the question of whether these things were done with the singer’s knowledge, but at this stage they believe he did not know about most of the incidents and that he did not know how frequently his father and the other suspects were meeting with the underage girls.
Besides the evidence collected in an undercover investigation over the past three months, police also obtained evidence from the minors’ own testimony. At least several of them recounted their relations with the men, substantiating the evidence police had collected. The minors claim that everything that happened between them and the singer was consensual and that he had no part in the larger affair.
Golan told Keshet that his decision to suspend himself from the talent show was made in light of an ongoing "police investigation into a sensitive matter." Keshet did not state the reason for the decision.
Keshet also announced that it would be suspending the production of the next season of the famous singer's own talent scouting show, "Eyal Golan is Calling You."
Golan told Keshet, "I trust Israel Police will quickly clarify the suspicions against me and bring an end to the affair."
Golan's father: False accusations
According to a report in Ynet News, detectives of Tel Aviv’s Central Unit took testimony from the minors involved in the case over the past few days. Only some of them cooperated, the report says, while others refused to speak.
Two days ago, Golan’s father spoke publicly about the case for the first time: “I don’t know what the police want from me,” he was quoted by Ynet as saying, “They have been making many false accusations against me over the past few days. I have nothing to do with any incident, and I promise that I will appear whenever the police summon me.”