Court Puts NIS 5M Lien on Dudu Topaz at Keshet's Request

The Tel Aviv District Court agreed yesterday to a request by television franchisee Keshet and its CEO Avi Nir to put a lien of up to NIS 5 million from the account of entertainer Dudu Topaz, accused of orchestrating an attack on Nir.

Keshet and Nir sought the lien in a bid to prevent Topaz from smuggling his assets abroad to protect him from future damages lawsuits.The court requested that Keshet and Nir file a damages suit within 30 days.

The lien request claims that the threats against Nir began as early as 18 months ago, when his wife received a call from a woman she did not recognize. The woman claimed she was having an affair with Nir, and that he intended to leave home for her. The request states that the call was made from a public telephone in Eilat, and that Topaz confessed to ordering the call during a recent interrogation.

Written threats are also detailed in the request, with the last saying "you are going to die." The same threat is said to have been repeated in a telephone conversation later on.

In the request, Keshet and Nir claim that "Topaz initiated an extremely violent attack, with the aim to instill terror, fear and hatred, and to disrupt the work of one of Israel's most important media organizations." They claim Topaz demanded that they stop broadcasting television programs such as "A Star is Born" - Israel's version of "American Idol" - and to cease working with producers until Keshet would have no choice but to bring Topaz back on air.

Anticipating a claim by the Topaz defense team that the entertainer was not sane when the acts were carried out, Keshet and Nir's lawyers write that "an examination of the facts reveals that Topaz was working in complete control, in an exceedingly calculated manner, with meticulous and malicious planning, while taking every possible precaution to ensure he wasn't caught."

They claim that his conduct was "characterized by many traits of organized crime figures."

Keshet and Nir also say the threats forced the company to hire security guards for Nir, trace phone calls and provide security for the company's shows broadcast live. They say they intend to sue Topaz for the costs of these measures, apart from Nir's physical injuries. They estimate the damages to be at around NIS 5 million.

Also yesterday, Roman Alayev of Ramle, suspected of attacking actors agent Boaz Ben Zion on Topaz's orders, arrived at the police's Yarkon District headquarters and turned himself in. Alayev, along with Mohammed Yunis of Arara, is suspected of threatening Ben Zion in a phone call and later attacking him near his home.