Letter: Response from Juval Aviv

I am dismayed by being included in your October issue’s cover story by Bruce Livesey, entitled, “Hoodwinked!” about dishonest private investigators who mislead Canadian lawyers. Your reporter cited the courtroom remarks of the well-known criminal defence lawyer Edward Greenspan as he defended Conrad Black in a widely-publicized criminal case of fraud and other charges. The reported part of the case was the 2007 hearing in Chicago about Black’s potential interim return to Canada before sentencing. In this hearing, the prosecution apparently cited evidence that we had previously provided to the law firm of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, which had acted for Hollinger Inc. in a related civil case against Conrad Black.

Had your reporter contacted me for comment before publishing, he would have been advised of the following:

1. I certainly strongly disagree with Mr. Greenspan’s criticisms of our investigation report about Conrad Black.

2. The prosecution proffered our report to the court, but in the end did not need to focus further upon it because of other matters before the court.

3. Although Mr. Greenspan said I was “a double-dealing con artist” who your reporter concluded had “taken our client for a ride,” Davies Ward never complained of our work. Neither had Mr. Greenspan over the many years when he retained — and praised — me as private investigator for more than one of his cases.

4. Your report then quotes Mr. Greenspan as charging that I had “misled people about two major world events,” referring it seems to the Vengeance book and the Pan Am 103 Lockerbie bombing.

5. In the early 1980s, I met often with Eddie and his long-time client and friend, the writer George Jonas, for whom I was the prime source (“Avner”) for the later-published No. 1 best-seller non-fiction book Vengeance.

6. At the time, publisher Louise Dennys confided she had privately confirmed the accuracy of the Vengeance story and my role from her senior sources in a most honourable Western intelligence service.

7. I served as Steven Spielberg’s consultant when he made his Vengeance-based film Munich. Steven told me (and I believe others) that he had confirmed the accuracy of the story and my role with sources who had worked at the highest levels of both the U.S. and Israeli governments.

8. The other major event “Hoodwinked” refers to is the Pan Am 103 Lockerbie crash investigation, for which I was chief investigator for Pan Am’s aviation law firm. He cites a New York Magazine article describing a 1990 letter from Yigal Carmon, then a counterterrorism adviser to the Israeli prime minister, denying my past with Mossad. At the time, the reporter was Yigal Carmon’s roommate.

9. I am not the first to observe that intelligence agencies leak to friendly press to smear former agents who run off the reservation; in this case, Mossad timely joined with CIA to discredit my Pan Am 103 investigation. Nonetheless, my aviation law firm client stood by the report and, despite fervent U.S. government opposition, sought to introduce that defence into court. The judge, citing and in the end bowing to the government pressure, refused to even allow Pan Am’s defence to be heard by the jury. The jury was given but one story to decide and one story it found.

I rest my case.


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