Israel Convicts Conspirator Who Wiretapped Michael Cherney

Did Oleg Deripaska order the illegal wiretapping
and computer hacking of Michael Cherney?

By Herb Brandon
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel --- October 26, 2011 .... On October 24th the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court in Israel convicted far-right activist Avigdor Eskin of ordering the illegal wiretapping of associates of Israel businessman and philanthropist Michael Cherney (Mikhail Chernoy).

The plea bargain consists of a penalty of six months of community service, probation and a fine of NIS 20,000.

According to the original indictment, filed in January 2011 by the Israel State Attorney's office, Eskin was contacted in 2007 by a Russian citizen, Alexei Drobashenko, who asked him to gather information about Michael Cherney in order to use it in a smear campaign.

At that time Alexei Drobashenko was the head of the External Relations Department at Basic Element, a financial and industrial group that belongs to Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska and Cherney are former partners in an aluminum business. In 2006 Cherney filed a law suit against Oleg Deripaska in the UK's High Court.

Cherney is seeking a 20 percent stake in RUSAL, a multinational aluminum producer. The trial is expected to go ahead in April 2012.

In February 2008, Cherney filed a suit in a Tel Aviv court, accusing a group of 10 conspirators, allegedly funded by Oleg Deripaska, of illegal wiretapping, hacking the computers of his charity fund - The Michael Cherney Foundations, publishing slanderous articles, harassing him with insulting graffiti and leaflets, hiring a UK PR company to plant hoaxes about Cherney into the UK media and Wikipedia.

The purpose of that smear campaign was allegedly to derail Cherney's lawsuit against Deripaska in UK's Commercial Court.

Aviv Mor, an Israel private investigator, together with another PI, Rafael Pridan, carried out wiretaps against Cherney's secretary Elena Skir and another of Cherney's associates, the indictment contended.

The indictment further charged that Eskin was the link between Mor and Pridan and Drobashenko, that he paid them each NIS 50,000 in cash for their services and that he also received translations of the wiretapped conversations.

In a previous trial in January 2010, Mor was convicted of wiretapping under a plea bargain. Pridan was also convicted under a plea bargain of illegal wiretapping in March.

On January 13th, 2010 the Tel Aviv Court handed down the first verdict in the case of illegal eavesdropping on Michael Cherney. Judge Daniel Beary stressed that Michael Cherney was a "victim of a crime". He added that Israel must fight illegal violations of privacy of and subsequent damage to its citizens.

Cherney asked the court that the fines collected from the convicted plotters be used to help orphanages in Israel.

Following the Dolphinarium terrorist act at a Tel Aviv's disco in 2001, the Michael Cherney Foundation
became the helping hand for hundreds of terror victims in Israel.

The Michael Cherney Foundation supports many community projects of Russian Israelis, youth programs strengthening Jewish and Zionist identity as well as educational and academic programs aimed at exposing the threat of radical Islam.


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