Mossad Chief Investigated for Accepting Bribes from Australian Billionaire

yediot mossad scandal

פרשה חדשה וחמורה במוסד – האם מדובר בחשד לשוחד שקיבל יוסי כהן ממיליארדר אוסטרלי

richardsilverstein–Shimon Shiffer, writing in Yediot, reports a story http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4904689,00.html  that is under military censorship. There is almost no real information in his report because of those restrictions.

The story says:

New Scandal Breaks in Major Security Agency

An Israeli source reveals that the scandal involves one of Israel’s major intelligence agencies (the Hebrew phrase guf bitchoni gadol is a Hebrew euphemism for one of these units). He ruled out Shabak as the suspected party. That leaves essentially the Mossad or the IDF military intelligence unit, AMAN. While AMAN has had corruption scandals in the past reported by Ronen Bergman, This scandal is not based in the same unit he reported on in the past.

Some have pointed out to this as a reference to Shiffer’s story: Judy Mozes is a prominent member of one of Israel’s oligarchical families (her brother, Noni, owns Yediot Achronot, where the story appeared) and she is married to senior Likud MK, Silvan Shalom. She tweeted the following:

Whether ה״דוגמן״ was busy with other things, like Mariah Cary’s performance, for example, rather than paying attention to events in his organization.

“Is The Model [Mossad chief Yossi Cohen] involved in other matters [than his agency], like the concert of Mariah Carey, for example, and ignoring what’s happening inside his own organization?”

Mozes has to be considered a credible, inside source.  Though the details of what she’s tweeting tend toward the salacious, rather than the substantive.  It’s certainly not illegal for a Mossad chief to attend a Mariah Carey concert.

Thanks to Uri Breitman for bringing up to date on background scuttlebutt to the Mariah Carey reference.  When she performed in Israel, she was engaged to Aussie media billionaire, James Packer.  A major portion of Packer’s corporate portfolio includes a gambling empire, Crown Resorts.  It’s no accident that Bibi’s biggest backers like Adelson and Packer are gaming moguls who exploit human weakness to reap their fortunes.  They’re the contemporary version of World War II war profiteers.

Being a proper oligarch, Packer sought a tax haven to shield himself from Australian taxes.  He sought an Israeli residence permit which would allow him to avoid his own taxman.

Packer netanyahu

James Packer with Yair Netanyahu, Bibi and Ron Dermer as they prepare Netanyahu’s UN speech

Such permits are under the purview if the Interior minister, who was Aryeh Deri at the time.  Packer sought all the allies he could get in his campaign.  That’s why he paid tens of thousands of dollars to host banquets at Bibi’s villa; and why he hosted Yair Betanyahu stays at five star hotels in New York, Aspen and London.

As part of this plan, he offered then national security advisor, Yossi Cohen, complimentary box seats also worth thousands to his fiancee, Maria’s Tel Aviv concert.  Packer naturally was using these perks to secure letters of recommendation endorsing his application for the residence permit.

So bingo–not only do the police have a quid pro quo, but we’ve also connected Packer both to bribery of Bibi AND Cohen in return for a highly valuable favor.  That may be enough to indict a prime minister.

As to whether it will cost Cohen his job, I don’t know whether the State prosecutor will have the guts to take down two senior Israeli leaders at one go.  That’s an awful lot of disruption within the halls of power.  And there’s one thing the political and financial elite of Israel crave above almost all else–stability.

Packer too may be in hot water in his home country as it’s a major crime to bribe the leader of a foreign country.  Australian police are undoubtedly watching how this develops with interest.

As an aside, Cohen is nicknamed The Model not just because of his good looks, but because he was well-known as a serial philanderer during his early Mossad training as recounted by Victor Ostrovsky in his tell-all book.  That reinforces the notion that this may be a sexual scandal, at least in part.

Secondarily, this may explain why the Mossad has sent its assassins far and wide to murder low-level operatives in the Hamas/Hezbollah global network.  As Mozes says, Cohen’s been taking his eye off the office during his dalliances.  What better way to show your ‘manhood’ and that you’re the boss than taking out a few ‘bad guys.’  It looks good on the résumé and offers ammunition to refute the critics.

Returning to Shiffer’s story: I’m not sure it’s the same as the one above.  As far as I know, the Yossi Cohen-Carey-Packer has been freely reported for the past few weeks.  While the Shiffer story has been under tight censorship.  So his story may relate to a new and as yet undisclosed intelligence scandal.

If it does, I should note several previous major Mossad scandals: I reported here that $300,000 in agency “petty cash” went mysteriously missing and was never accounted for.  Further, the agency head responsible for Iran was arrested some years ago for allegedly serving as a double agent for Iranian intelligence.  Now known as Prisoner X2 (to distinguish him from Ben Zygier, who was Prisoner X), he was arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned in secret.  His name may not be reported nor the specific charges against him.  No one knows his current whereabouts, though he is imprisoned somewhere in Israel.  He still has several years to serve in his term before his release.

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