Israel on Monday filed a formal request to the Netherlands for the extradition of an Israeli modeling agent against whom there are 26 rape and sexual misconduct complaints.
Shai Avital was arrested by Dutch police in August at the request of Israeli authorities, more than a year after Israeli police issued an arrest warrant for him.
Authorities are seeking to bring Avital to trial on two separate counts of sexual misconduct, the state’s attorney’s office said, though police said they are investigating other complaints.
The agent, who has portrayed some of Israel’s top models, holds European citizenship, potentially creating additional legal hurdles for Israeli authorities seeking to extradite him.
“We have not received any extradition request. We haven’t received any official documents from the State of Israel – we learned that from you,” Avital’s lawyers, Sassy Gez and Sharon Nahari, told Channel 12.
“The very fact that out of 26 complaints, only two complaints were filed in this extradition request speaks for itself,” they added.
The Israeli Public Prosecutor’s Office will be represented before the Amsterdam Court by the Dutch Prosecutor’s Office; however, the date for the extradition hearing has not yet been set.
Police opened a criminal investigation into Avital in July 2021, as media reported that he harassed or assaulted several former clients and colleagues.
The investigation, which is being led by the Investigative Wing of the Tel Aviv Police District, came after Channel 13 published evidence that Avital sent threatening messages to models, including complaints to the police ready to be dropped off, if they accused him of sexual abuse.