Harvey Weinstein hired several private security agencies to investigate several women accusing him of sexual assault and the journalists working on the stories, the New Yorker's Ronan Farrow reported Monday.
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Among the firms hired by Weinstein include the Israeli firm Black Cube, whose employees are self-advertised as "highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units." According to the contract, signed in July, Weinstein explicitly hired Black Cube to prevent the New York Times and the New Yorker's original reporting on Weinstein, as well as actress Rose McGowan's book detailing his alleged abuse.
Weinstein first mentioned wanting to hire Black Cube, which earned an international reputation for digging up business intelligence around the world through legally murky methods, last year. David Boies, Weinstein's lawyer who is renowned for championing liberal causes at the highest level of the U.S. judicial system, offered Black Cube financial incentives for preventing the articles' publication and obtaining drafts of McGowan's books. Boies confirmed hiring the firms to the New Yorker.
Among the firm's responsibilities was to reportedly compile psychological profiles of Weinstein's accusers while digging dirt on their personal histories. Weinstein also hired corporate-intelligence firm Kroll to perform the same task. According to the New Yorker, a Black Cube private investigator and former Mossad agent met with actress Rose McGowan, pretending to be a women's-rights activist. The same investigator later reportedly met with journalists working on the Weinstein story, pretending to have her own set of allegations against the Hollywood producer.
An additional Black Cube operative also reportedly posed as a source for New York Magazine reporter Ben Wallace, who was working on his own Weinstein story, citing his ex-wife as leverage in potentially killing the story.
Black Cube was founded in 2010 by Yanus and Dan Zorella, who served in a secret Israeli intelligence unit — as have many of the company’s employees. Black Cube describes its employees as “a select group of veterans of the elite Israeli intelligence community, whose diverse experience in information gathering, analysis, research, and field operations make Black Cube a unique resource in the global market.” Most of the firm’s business is in supporting legal disputes between large business entities, when one side is trying to collect intelligence on the other side in an attempt to win the case.
Black Cube made the headlines in Israel in 2013 when it was hired by former IDB chairman Nochi Dankner to dig up dirt on Moti Ben-Moshe and Eduardo Elsztain, who succeeded in wresting control of the IDB conglomerate from Dankner. In 2014, Argentina wanted to hire Black Cube to collect intelligence on the U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management, which took Argentina to court to force it to pay up on bonds it has previously restructured. In 2016, two Israeli Black Cube employees were arrested in Romania on hacking charges with the alleged aim of harassing and intimidating the country's chief anti-corruption prosecutor.
Black Cube declined to comment on its work for Weinstein, telling the New Yorker: It is Black Cube’s policy to never discuss its clients with any third party, and to never confirm or deny any speculation made with regard to the company’s work. Black Cube supports the work of many leading law firms around the world, especially in the US, gathering evidence for complex legal processes, involving commercial disputes, among them uncovering negative campaigns. . . . It should be highlighted that Black Cube applies high moral standards to its work, and operates in full compliance with the law of any jurisdiction in which it operates—strictly following the guidance and legal opinions provided by leading law firms from around the world.”