Dudu Topaz Petitions Against NIS 5M Lien

Television celebrity Dudu Topaz, who is suspected of orchestrating a series of assaults on three media personalities, petitioned the courts yesterday to lift a NIS 5 million lien on his bank account.

Topaz said the amount was disproportionate to the charges against him; the entertainer has been accused of hiring thugs to attack Channel 2 director general Avi Nir, who asked the court to set the sum aside.

"[Nir's request] displays a vengefulness that is unsuitable in legal matters," Topaz's lawyers said.

They added that the lien request submitted by Nir and Keshet, the Channel 2 concessionary he heads, was based on rumors and media reports.

Nir and Keshet said the lien was necessary to prevent Topaz from transferring assets abroad to avoid paying damages if found guilty.

Topaz has been indicted for hiring thugs to assault Nir, another Channel 2 executive, Shula Margalit, and actors' agent Boaz Ben Zion. Charges include assault and battery, conspiracy to commit a crime, extortion and obstruction of justice.

In the lien request, Nir cited an alleged campaign of terror by the man who once hosted Israel's most popular television show. He said that in addition to orchestrating the assaults, Topaz sent him and Keshet seven anonymous letters threatening blackmail and violence. He said the letters forced Keshet to take expensive security measures including video surveillance and wiretaps.

"For a year and a half Topaz took every possible move to hurt me, my family and work relations," Nir said. "He wanted to instill fear."

The television executive was seriously beaten by assailants outside his home last November, allegedly at Topaz's behest.