Police issue arrest warrant for top model agent accused of sexual abuse

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Police reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Israeli modeling agent Shai Avital, who represents some of the country’s top models, on Sunday in an investigation against him in which he was charged with 26 cases of sexual harassment .

Avital, who currently resides in Hungary, was ordered by Israeli authorities to immediately return to Israel where he would be detained and questioned about the allegations, Hebrew media reported.

His lawyers had previously said he would come to Israel if summoned.

Police opened the criminal investigation into Avital in July after media said he harassed several former clients and colleagues.

Twenty-six separate complaints have now reportedly been filed against him.

The investigation, which is led by the Tel Aviv Police District’s investigative wing, was opened after Channel 13 published evidence that Avital sent threatening messages to models, including complaints. police officers ready to be dropped off, if they accused her of sexual abuse.

In an illustrative image, Israeli modeling agent Shai Avital (R) poses for a photo with models at a rooftop event in Tel Aviv, September 17, 2017 (Avshalom Sassoni / Flash90)

In leaked text messages, Avital appeared to boast of having ties to the police and he was not afraid of any complaints against him.

According to documents released by the network, in 2009 Avital paid NIS 120,000 ($ 35,000) to model Israela Avtau after sexually assaulting her in her office. The incident was apparently kept under wraps 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 the women also claimed that Avital exposed himself to them, including at least one case that resulted in them having sex afterwards, which continued on a regular basis, after Avital promised that the apparent victim would be featured on a popular reality show.

Other women accused him of forcibly groping, kissing and licking his face. The allegations date back to the past two decades.

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