Eyal Golan named as suspect in underage sex case
Singer, father and two other men interrogated by law enforcement
The “unnamed popular singer” embroiled in the underage sex scandal rocking the Israeli music scene has finally been identified after the gag order on publishing his name was lifted midday Wednesday.
Eyal Golan, a Mizrahi singer and TV reality show judge, was interrogated for the first time Wednesday morning by police. He and another singer are accused of engaging in sexual encounters with underage girls.
Five detectives also searched the home of the father of one of the singers, confiscating a computer and taking the man in for questioning.
According to testimony collected by investigators, people close to one of the singers, including the father of one of the singers, would locate girls, often during the singers’ performances, and bring them to rented rooms for evenings that included sexual intercourse, drug use and expensive gifts.
Golan’s promoters and a media figure involved in the scandal were also arrested, Ynet reported.
The four men were interrogated separately at the central police station in Tel Aviv.
This is not Golan’s first brush with the law. The Tax Authority set its sights on the singer in October, charging him with not declaring or paying income tax on NIS 2.6 million (about $736,000). Golan, one of Israel’s biggest stars, makes about NIS 14 million per year (about $3.9 million), according to Yedioth Ahronoth.
Also Wednesday, Keshet Media Group, a franchisee of Channel 2, announced Golan had agreed to suspend himself from the reality show, “Rising Star,” where he was a celebrity judge.
Without specifying, Golan told Keshet that he was taking time off because of a police investigation into a “sensitive matter.”
The scandal broke last Wednesday when it was revealed by Channel 2 News that the police had been investigating allegations against the two famous entertainers for three months. According to a Sunday report in Ynet, authorities have interviewed at least five girls in connection with the case, although only two, including the latest accuser, have admitted to having sex with one of the famous singers.
Tel Aviv police said Sunday that a young woman has come forward to claim she had sexual relations with one of the accused when she was underage. She was 14 at the time, she said, and had slept with one of the men in exchange for gifts. The minimum age for sexual consent under Israeli law is 16.
Before Golan could be identified, a police source told Ynet that “We have to verify everything” before proceeding further with the case,” adding that evidence provided by minors is “not always exact.” The police official insisted “it is clear” that people around the singer engaged in spotting and bringing girls to after-show parties.
According to media reports last week, the singers may have smoked marijuana with at least two girls with whom they had sex — and possibly engaged in group sex with several other underage girls — in an apartment rented for that purpose.
Channel 1 accidentally revealed the Golan’s name on the 9 p.m. news last Thursday evening, with the anchor immediately correcting himself. Still, the damage had been done: By late last week, most Israelis had put together the pieces of the puzzle.
Also last Thursday, a leading blogger was arrested for publishing the Golan’s name and saw his blog taken down. One of the singers responded to the blogger’s accusation with a threatening post on his private Facebook page, in effect confirming he was one of the accused.
“To all my fans and the people who love me, I am aware of the character assassination that is being done to me. All is well with me, praise God. I’m working, performing and partying. I love you all,” the singer wrote.
On Friday, a top party promoter, said to have been one of those who arranged dalliances with the underage girls, spoke to both Channel 2 and Ynet and denied the allegation that he had procured underage girls for the famous singers. He insisted that one of the singers, his client, was innocent.
The promoter said neither he nor the singer was involved in a sex scandal. “I never procured any underage girls for any singers,” he told Channel 2.
“A great injustice has been done to many people,” he said. Of the accusations, he commented, “It’s just a rumor [spread by] jealous people. These singers are classy, people who have everything in life. They don’t concern themselves with nonsense,” he added.