Israeli Police Investigating Whether Black Cube Is Operating Without a License

Court-appointed trustee of bankrupt tycoon Eliezer Fishman’s assets testifies in probe into private intelligence firm

Black Cube CEO Dan Zorella
Eyal Toueg

The Israel Police are looking into whether private intelligence firm Black Cube took actions solely permitted of private investigators without holding a proper license. This was revealed in testimony given by the court-appointed trustee of disgraced Israeli tycoon Eliezer Fishman's assets.

The attorney, Joseph Benkel, testified to police in June as part of a probe into the firm. According to a request to review Fishman's bankruptcy file submitted by the Tel Aviv District Police's fraud unit, the probe involves infractions of the Private Investigator Law. The minutes of Benkel’s testimony were attached to the request.

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Last April, Avi Yanus, one of Black Cube’s founders, submitted an opinion to Fishman’s bankruptcy file. The opinion detailed the results of an investigation that Black Cube carried out regarding assets worth tens of millions of euros that the company and Benkel assert are tied to Fishman, and are registered under the names of trustees in Germany.

The report itself indicates that the crux of the investigation took place in Germany. When asked about the matter, Benkel responded that he had not checked if the company held a license, but stated that to the best of his knowledge, the investigation was conducted in line with the law of the countries in which the company was operating.

It is public knowledge that Black Cube has operated in Israel in other cases, such as ones involving Bezeq, Israel Chemicals, Hot and Rami Levy. In late 2017, the Israel Private Investigators Association, a union of investigative offices working in the country, filed a police complaint in which it asserted that Black Cube was operating as an investigation company without a license.

In response, Black Cube said: “This is an old complaint that has been repeated dozens of times in recent years that surprisingly shows up after every article connected to Black Cube. Its sole aim is to give publicity to the Private Investigators Association, which is apparently completely bored and drags the police and the trustee into dealing with their futile complaints and to waste precious resources."

Black Cube, the statement continued, operates within the law of each country in which it is active, and relies on senior and experienced legal advisors to ensure that it is within the bounds of Israeli law. "Every time these tired complaints have resurfaced, the company has shown to all involved that it works spotlessly," it says. "Black Cube was chosen by the trustee in the Fishman case out of six potential companies considered in Israel and abroad, after the legality of its operations and its unique abilities in the world were reviewed. And as evidence, it found assets worth tens of millions of euros on behalf of the public.”