Ex-model agency worker details Hogeg’s alleged assault on model, says he paid others

Danielle Cohen, an immigrant from the US, says Hogeg, arrested for scam and sex crimes, used money to gain access to young, beautiful women and girls; he has denied all accusations

Moshe Hogeg at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on February 17, 2020 (Flash90)
Moshe Hogeg at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on February 17, 2020 (Flash90)

A former employee of a model agency has told Channel 13 of the alleged sexual assault carried out by businessman Moshe Hogeg on a model, as well as detailing the financial relationships he had with others.

Hogeg was arrested last week. According to court documents, he is suspected of 21 offenses, including money laundering, theft, and fraud, as well as crimes entailing sexual and moral turpitude currently under gag order.

Danielle Cohen grew up in Philadelphia in what she described as a Zionist home. She immigrated to Israel and joined the army, and after her release looked for a job in fashion.

She worked for top modeling agent Shai Avital, prior to the sexual assault allegations against him, and eventually ended up at ITM models, working in its international division for a man named Omri Yaari, who came from the nightlife world, where he recruited bar staff to work as models.

Cohen told Channel 13 in a detailed interview that she acted as a kind of “big sister” to the models, accompanying them on trips abroad and coordinating with their parents.

Meanwhile, Yaari decided that the way to gain publicity for the models at the agency was through revealing details about their personal lives and relationships to the public.

Danielle Cohen (Screen grab/Channel 13)

Cohen said that in 2018, a model she was working with signed on with an agency in New York, but Yaari called her and said the deal was to be canceled.

“He explained to me that there was a businessman who was interested in her and he wanted her to have a clean slate so that he can do whatever he wants with her as a clerk abroad, without any bother,” Cohen told Channel 13 news, confirming the businessman was Hogeg.

Cohen told of another time a model was supposed to travel abroad for work but was unable to make the trip due to an order from the Israel Defense Forces, where she was serving at the time. Cohen said that instead, the model was flown overseas “on Moshe’s plane.”

“We ordered a plane ticket for her and when the day came, we found out that she was a deserter from the army and could not leave the country. But after a week or two, I saw that she was abroad,” Cohen recalled.

She said that she asked Yaari how she was abroad and he said: “Moshe flew her on his plane, he asks models to clerk for him in his business meetings overseas.”

Omri Yaari (Screen grab/Channel 13 news)

Cohen said it soon became clear that the models were not working as “clerks,” but Yaari told her not to get involved because Hogeg had a financial relationship with the agency.

“Omri explained to me that [Hogeg] is a kind of sponsor of the agency, that he helps him financially,” said Cohen, explaining that it appeared that some of the models were also financially benefiting from relationships with Hogeg.

Cohen said that in one case, she heard that NIS 450,000 (approximately $143,000) was transferred to one of the models in a payment that went via the agency, but was told not to ask questions about it.

Cohen also said that another model, who she said came from a “troubled” background, went to live in a luxury Tel Aviv apartment owned by Hogeg.

Cohen said she went to visit the model to try to understand the situation.

Moshe Hogeg, Beitar Jerusalem owner, seen during the Israeli Premier League match between Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Beersheba at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, on August 25, 2019. (Flash90)

“I said I did not understand what [she was] doing in the apartment of such an older man, someone who is both married and a father,” Cohen recalled. “In fact, Moshe saw me there on cameras and told Omri [Yaari] to ‘get her out of there.'”

Read more: Alleged crypto scams, sex offenses, unpaid bills: The claims against Moshe Hogeg

The situation worsened with the case of a model named only by the Hebrew initial “Lamed,” who said Hogeg entered her hotel room and tried to force himself on her, but she yelled and managed to fend him off.

Cohen said there was a veil of secrecy surrounding the incident, and she went to visit the model’s family, who refused to tell her what had happened.

“She was [just] a girl,” Cohen said, describing how she was told not to get involved in the situation.

Lamed told close acquaintances and Yaari about the incident at the time, but the agent did not report it to her parents or to law enforcement authorities, according to the report. The model did not file a police complaint.

The network said there were business ties between the agent and Hogeg both before and after the alleged incident.

Hogeg has denied the accusation of assault and said the sex was consensual.

In the wake of the alleged assault, Hogeg continued to have an impact on Lamed’s life. On one trip to New York, he upgraded her tickets to business class without her knowing, Cohen said.

Moshe Hogeg, Israeli businessman and Beitar Jerusalem owner, seen at the team’s training ground in Jerusalem on June 25, 2019. (Flash90)

Cohen said that at this stage, Yaari not only dismissed her concerns but began to distance her from Lamed and then the other models. He weakened her position at the company until one day he simply fired her in the middle of the day, apparently out of nowhere, Cohen said.

When asked how it felt, as a young woman who immigrated to Israel out of a sense of Zionism, to be left in this position, Cohen replied: “It shattered me.”

“I couldn’t speak to anyone about what had happened,” she said. “I felt helpless.”

Yaari responded to the report, saying it was “gossip by a former employee of the agency, against whom extensive legal proceedings are underway.” He denied any wrongdoing in connection with finances, or the claims made in connection with the young model.

Hogeg, currently under arrest, did not comment on the report but has previously denied all allegations.

In a separate report on Tuesday, the Haaretz daily said police had signed a state witness agreement with an individual connected to the investigation into Hogeg on suspicion of involvement in alleged massive fraud related to cryptocurrencies and sexual assault.

Hogeg is a tech entrepreneur and cryptocurrency trader.

In 2018 he bought the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team.

In May, Hogeg was one of a group of businesspeople sued by former employees of an Israeli venture capital fund who claim that three of Israel’s largest initial blockchain coin offerings of 2017 and 2018 were outright scams.

Hogeg has denied the allegations and said the lawsuit is an attempt by disgruntled employees to extort him.

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