Police Probe Whether PIs Were Following Ramon Complainant

Police are examining whether a private investigation firm in Tel Aviv violated the law by following the woman who accused Minister Haim Ramon of forcibly kissing her in July 2006, while she was serving as an officer in the army. Police and the State Prosecutor's Office said they don't yet know who hired Wizman Yaar Investigations to follow the woman, or why.

The plaintiff, identified only as H., was followed in the past month, after Ramon completed his sentence following his conviction for indecent assault. 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 H. on staff.

Last week the Tel Aviv district prosecution, which argued 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.