Meet The Israeli Spy Harvey Weinstein Hired To Get Close To Rose McGowan To Undermine Actress' Case

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Who Is Diane Filip? New Details On Black Cube Agent Who Spied On Rose McGowan For Harvey Weinstein
Entertainment And News

Rose McGowan will forever be associated with the downfall of Harvey Weinstein. When McGowan told the world Weinstein raped her in 1997 then paid for her silence, she set off a firestorm that ended the movie mogul's career. McGowan's testimony was a linchpin to Ronan Farrow's reporting on Weinstein. He spent almost two years chasing down the truth about rumors that Weinstein was a serial sexual assailant, something that had been somewhat of an open secret in entertainment circles for decades. The resulting story was published in The New Yorker and won a Pulitzer Prize. Weinstein lost everything in the wake of that and other stories about his predatory nature and serial sexual assaults on dozens of women. 

McGowan spoke to Farrow during his reporting phase and agreed to tell her story for a film crew. What neither of them knew at the time was Weinstein had gotten word of their efforts and was launching a counteroffensive to find out what they knew and what they were going to say about him. To do this, he hired Black Cube, a private investigation firm in Tel Aviv, founded by veterans of a secret Israeli intelligence unit. Several Black Cube operatives attempted to contact both McGowan and Farrow but only one was successful: a woman named Stella Pachanac. But that wasn't the name she gave to Farrow and McGowan. They knew her as Diana Filip. 

Who is Diana Filip? Read on for the stunning details. 

1. Women in Focus

In 2017, as McGowan was working on her book and talking to Farrow for his story on Weinstein, her literary agent passed along a request to her. The email came from Reuben Capital Partners, a London-based wealth-management firm that was purportedly working on a charitable endeavor called Women In Focus and was hoping to get McGowan involved. “We have taken a keen interest in the work Ms. Rose McGowan does for the advocacy of women’s rights and we believe that the ideals she strives towards align closely with those upheld by our new initiative,” the e-mail said, according to Ronan Farrow in Catch and Kill. The sender was a woman named Diana Filip, who claimed to be the deputy head of sustainable and responsible investments. McGowan agreed to meet with Filip and the two struck up a close friendship over the next several months. 

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2. Getting close to McGowan

The woman McGowan knew as Filip artfully placed herself in the same places McGowan traveled so the two of them could become closer. "They met at hotel bars in Los Angeles and New York. They took long walks. Once, McGowan brought Filip to the Venice Beach boardwalk, where they ate ice cream as they strolled," Farrow wrote about the friendship. "Filip talked about investing in McGowan’s production company. She introduced McGowan to a man who identified himself as Paul Laurent, a colleague from Reuben Capital Partners. Like Filip, he was attractive, with an indeterminate accent. He was curious and attentive. The three talked about possible collaborations and their shared belief in the importance of telling stories that would empower women."

Filip also carefully sought out information about McGowan's history with Weinstein and what she might be planning to say about him in the future. "McGowan and Filip also discussed how explicitly McGowan was going to publicly describe her allegation against Weinstein, and under what circumstances. They talked through what McGowan had said to reporters and what she was writing in her book."

Their connection was potent, Farrow wrote. "During one of their emotional heart-to-hearts, McGowan told Filip that there was no one else in the world she could trust."

McGowan talked about Weinstein in her book. 

3. Tracking down Ronan Farrow

McGowan told Filip about speaking with Ronan Farrow and Filip jumped on that detail. Farrow reports Filip e-mailed McGowan to try and get connected with him. “'I was thinking about Ronan Farrow, who you mentioned during our meeting,' she wrote. 'Seems like a really impressive and sweet guy. I read a bit about him and was very impressed by his work, despite the problematic family connection.' She asked whether I might help with the charity initiative that she was supposedly working on, Women in Focus. 'I was thinking that someone like him could be an interesting and valuable addition to our project (not for the conference, but the annual activity through 2018), due to the fact that he’s a pro-female male,' she wrote. 'Do you think you could introduce us, in order to look into this opportunity further?'"

She also tried to reach Farrow directly and through his speaking agent, proposing that she meet with him to discuss an opportunity to give a speech at a Women in Focus event. They never managed to meet up.

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4. Her real identity

Farrow discovered through his reporting that Diana Filip was just one alias the woman he and McGowan knew was using. In fact, she was an agent for Black Cube, a private investigative firm that has been described as being "a personal Mossad" to do intel for you. She had worked on various operations for the firm using different identities. In actuality, she was a former Israeli Air Force officer named Stella Penn Pechanac. Pechanac was the child of a Bosnian Muslim and a Christian Orthodox Serbian, which put her family squarely in the middle of the civil war that broke out when she was a child. She recalls taking in people who had been wounded by the fighting. She also remembers her building being bloodied after shelling in her town. “There were water hoses we used to clean with, and they simply washed all the blood out the door,” she said. “I remember — seven years old.”

Farrow's book details Black Cube's surveillance of him.

5. Becoming an agent

As a teen, Pechanac's family was able to escape to Israel, where they converted from Isalm to Judaism. Pechanac spent two years in the Israeli Air Force then enrolled in acting school. Her dreams of acting we soon thwarted by the limited roles available to her, Farrow writes. The opportunity to work for Black Cube, to go deep undercover and analyze a mark to elicit information, appealed to her. “She went to work in Black Cube,” a person who knew her well said to Farrow, “Because she needs to be a character.”

Farrow delved deep into her work for Black Cube and found that she had been involved in multiple undercover operations. "During the summer of 2017, a woman who identified herself as Diana Ilic, a London-based consultant working for a European software mogul, began calling and meeting with critics of the insurance company AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., pressing them to make self-incriminating statements," Farrow writes. "Not long after, a woman named Maja Lazarov, who claimed to work for Caesar & Co., a London-based recruitment agency, began approaching employees of West Face Capital, a Canadian asset-management firm, and soliciting damaging statements from them."  

RELATED: The 5 Most Disturbing Details About Harvey Weinstein's Sexual Harassment Allegations And His 'Code Of Silence'

6. Too corrupt for Black Cube

Weinstein hired Black Cube to ferret out information that could be damaging to him and they were successful. In 2017, Pechanac and others from Black Cube presented Weinstein with parts of the manuscript that would become McGowan's explosive book. But as their working relationship went on and they realized that Weinstein's entire goal was to silence women he had sexually assaulted, Black Cube backed out. A source close to the Black Cube told Ronan Farrow that "the company withdrew from its relationship with Weinstein as it became increasingly clear that the producer wanted the firm to target women with sexual-misconduct allegations against him."

In the wake of the reporting about Weinstein and his depraved habit of sexual assault, Pechanac faced questioning for her role. She could only say that she didn't realize how bad it was. “At the time he was really not a monster,” she told Israeli TV. “He was not the man we know him to be today.”

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.