Israeli modeling agent Shai Avital, who represents some of the country’s top models, has been accused of sexual harassment by several former clients and colleagues.
The first alleged incident dates back to 2005, when Avital and the CEO of Israel’s Fashion Channel were arrested after allegedly forcing themselves on a model at a Tel Aviv nightclub.
The case was dropped for lack of evidence in December 2009, according to the Ynet news site.
Channel 13 released evidence on Saturday that Avital sent threatening messages to models, including police complaints ready to be filed if they accused him of sexual abuse.
In leaked text messages, Avital appeared to brag about having ties to the police and he is not afraid of complaints against him.
His former office secretary appeared to confirm the text messages, saying in a phone call broadcast by Channel 13 that he “has no problem if you go to the police because he knows everyone there.”
According to documents released by the network, in 2009 Avital paid model Israela Avtau NIS 120,000 ($35,000) after he sexually assaulted her in his office. The incident was apparently kept secret and Avital continued his career as an agent.
Sexual messages allegedly sent by Avital to a number of women, including minors, were also broadcast by the network.
A number of allegations also claimed that Avital exposed himself in front of them, including at least one instance that led them to have sex afterwards, which continued regularly after Avital had promised that the apparent victim would be featured on a popular reality show.
Other women accused him of forcibly groping, kissing and licking their faces. The allegations date back two decades, the network said.
“Like many, I came to him with the dream of being a model. He was a serious agent and his reputation set him back. When I was 19, he suddenly tried to kiss me” , model Hila Krugman wrote in an Instagram post on Saturday.
“It was the only time he tried to physically impose himself on me. Now that I’m hearing testimonies from other girls, I probably got ‘lucky’,” Krugman added.
Police recently began investigating the allegations, according to the Ynet news site. After which, the investigation department will decide if a criminal investigation is necessary, according to the report.