Police: Ramon's Relative Hired PI to Trail Minister's Accuser

Complainant in ex-justice minister's indecent behavior trial was under private surveillance over last month.

Police discovered Tuesday that a relative of Haim Ramon is responsible for hiring a private investigator to follow the woman whose claim that Ramon forcibly kissed her led to the former justice minister's conviction for indecent behavior.

Ramon resigned as justice minister ahead of his trial earlier this year. he recently returned to politics as the vice premier.

The man who hired the investigator, Efraim Konda, is married to the sister of Ramon's ex-wife, and is one of his close confidants.

The former woman soldier who brought charges against Ramon, identified only as "H.", has been followed during the past month, after Ramon completed his community service. She was serving as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces at the time of the kiss.

The police's national fraud squad also found that the private investigation had cost NIS 100,000.

Konda declined comment when asked to respond to these findings. "I am a private man, not a public figure," Konda told Haaretz.

Yoav Lavi, Ramon's associate, issued a response on Ramon's behalf saying "I never ordered any investigations into anything surrounding the affair, I haven't been in contact with any private investigation firm and I never spoke to anyone working for such a firm."

The police believe that the aim of the private investigation was to obtain from "H." a different version of the attack than the version presented at trial. Ramon's associates believe that the minister was wronged when convicted of indecent behavior, and that he had been framed.

These details were discovered after the national fraud squad earlier Tuesday raided the offices of a private investigation firm suspected of following the woman, and arrested the firm's owners. Further arrests are expected.

As part of the surveillance, the firm sent private investigator Dana Ben-Shoshan to try to get "H." to talk about the case.

State Prosecutor Eran Shendar met early this week with Yohanan Danino, head of the police investigations department, to discuss whether the surveillance involved criminal elements, such as witness harassment, an invasion of privacy or fraud. Shendar and Danino also discussed whether to open a police investigation of the matter, even if H. doesn't file a complaint. They have apparently not come to a decision yet, but are leaning toward opening an investigation.

"H." refused to comment on the surveillance.

"H." met Ben-Shoshan, who identified herself as a bartender named Dana Barsky, near her workplace a few weeks ago. The two began chatting and soon started talking on the phone and meeting frequently. In the course of their conversations, the two discussed the Ramon case, with Barsky apparently hoping to hear something other than what "H." said in court, comments that would put a different spin on the testimony that led to Ramon's conviction.

Ben-Shoshan also introduced "H." to a man who said he represented a production company planning to operate in Israel and promised to put her on the staff.

Last week the Tel Aviv district prosecution, which prosecuted the Ramon case, discovered that "H." was under surveillance and passed on the information to Shendar and the police fraud unit, which had investigated the forcible kiss.