A security company whose employee recorded Prime Minister’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s son making controversial comments during a night out at Tel Aviv strip clubs filed a civil suit Monday against the guard.
According to the NIS 250,000 ($72,600) suit filed at the Jerusalem Regional Labor Court, Roy Rosen breached his employee contract with the Modiin Ezrachi company by failing to respect the privacy of his client.
In the recording, which was published in January by Hadashot news, Yair Netanyahu can be heard making disparaging remarks about women and politically sensitive comments regarding his father’s involvement in a natural gas deal that he noted in jest benefited the tycoon father of one of his companions.
The lawsuit claimed that Rosen seemed to have long planned the recording of the most private moments of the prime minister’s son in order to sell the footage to the highest bidder.
It stated that Rosen received NIS 50,000 ($14,522) for the tape from Hadashot news.
“In the grave actions of the defendant, he violated the basic duties that apply to him both as an employee and as a former employee — mainly the obligations of trust, good faith and discretion — and caused the plaintiff enormous damages, including harming the plaintiff’s reputation,” the suit claimed.
It is still unclear how Rosen was able to record the younger Netanyahu and whether additional recordings exist.
Accordingly, the court requested that defendant provide the prime minister’s son with all recordings in his possession and not keep any copies of them.
Shortly after the publication of the recording, Modiin Ezrachi filed a police complaint against Rosen.
But police appeared unlikely to open an investigation, as both the driver of the vehicle and the security guard who captured the comments took part in the conversation, entitling them under Israeli law to secretly make a recording.
Current law requires that at least one party to a conversation be aware of, and give consent to, a recording. Any recording without knowledge of any of the parties is considered illegal wiretapping under Israeli law and is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison.
The security guard was also reportedly not bound to maintain confidentiality — unlike agents of the Shin Bet general security service — because he was hired by a civilian company.
Modiin Ezrachi, which faced criticism over the recording, provides security services for both of Netanyahu’s sons, Yair and Avner, as well as government ministers.
The airing of the tape sent shock waves through Israel’s political system, with opposition members saying they suggest corruption on the part of the prime minister, and Netanyahu’s office deriding their publication as part of a witch hunt.
The recording, apparently made two and a half years ago, captured conversations between then-25-year-old Yair Netanyahu; Nir Maimon, the son of gas magnate Koby Maimon; and Roman Abramov, a friend of the younger Netanyahu, who has been in the news recently in connection with police investigations into Prime Minister Netanyahu’s relationship with Australian gambling tycoon James Packer.
Yair Netanyahu and Nir Maimon can be heard joking about the prime minister’s ties to the elder Maimon and his ostensible immense profit from a multi-billion-dollar gas deal between private companies and the state.
“Bro, you have to spot me. My dad made an awesome deal for your dad, bro. He fought, fought in the Knesset for this, bro,” Yair Netanyahu says.
“You owe us, you owe us NIS 25,000 ($7,255),” Abramov interjects.
Yair Netanyahu continues: “Bro, my dad now arranged a $20 billion show for you and you can’t spot me NIS 400 ($116)?”
Like the prime minister, Yair Netanyahu has specifically denied the implication that the gas deal had been negotiated with the intention to benefit Koby Maimon.
The younger Netanyahu called the Hadashot report on the tape “biased and shameful,” and claimed the recording was illegally obtained. He also apologized for the behavior captured in the recordings.
Last month, wrapping up one of the investigations against the prime minister, known as Case 1000, police recommended that Netanyahu be indicted for bribery over lavish gifts he received from Packer and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, and actions he allegedly took on their behalf.
Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing in the case.
Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.