Adam Luck and Ben Lazarus – Mail on Sunday Nov 30, 2019
With her long blonde hair, catwalk figure and dazzling smile, it’s easy to believe that Stella Penn Pechanac could have been one of the victims of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Indeed, that’s exactly what she told New York Magazine writer Ben Wallace when she introduced herself as ‘Anna’ with another terrible story about the influential producer.
However, with his journalist’s instinct, Wallace smelled a rat.
This was 2016, well before the #MeToo scandal emerged, and even Wallace’s colleagues had no idea he was investigating claims of sexual harassment against Weinstein.
When they met for coffee, ‘Anna’ confided she had had an affair with Weinstein that had ended badly.
But there was something about her story that didn’t quite ring true. She seemed far more concerned, in fact, with asking questions about other Weinstein victims than her own story.
Call it paranoia, but Wallace had a sneaking suspicion she was recording him.
However, Rose McGowan, the actress who first accused Weinstein of rape, was rather more easily fooled.
Stella’s plausible manner and hard-to-place European accent convinced the actress that she was Diana Filip, an executive from London asset management firm Reuben Capital Partners, who wanted to invite McGowan to speak at a gala dinner.
Over the course of several months, ‘Diana’ inveigled her way into the Scream star’s life. Whether McGowan was in California or New York, Diana always seemed to be conveniently nearby.
They met for long walks, drinks and girls’ nights out. McGowan even told her ‘there was no one else in the world she could trust’.
But it was all a con. Just like Anna, Diana was merely a cover dreamed up by Stella, a spy working for the infamous Mossad-linked Israeli intelligence company Black Cube.
Weinstein had hired the firm in the months before his career and reputation were ruined by a welter of sexual allegations.
An extraordinary contract, dated July 11, 2017, between the mogul’s lawyers and the British arm of the Israeli firm show that Weinstein had tasked Black Cube with two primary objectives: to ‘provide intelligence which will help the Client’s efforts to completely stop the publication of a new, negative article in a leading NY newspaper’, and to ‘obtain additional content of a book which is currently being written and which includes harmful negative information on and about the Client’.
To achieve this, Black Cube promised a dedicated team. As part of the operation, codenamed Parachute, the organisation introduced Stella to Weinstein.
Her main objective was to befriend McGowan, obtain a draft of her memoir – and discredit it. And she was tasked with finding out about and blocking other allegations about Weinstein – just like the stories Ben Wallace was working on.
In late 2017, Weinstein met three Black Cube operatives in the back room of a New York restaurant. There, one of the agents told Weinstein ‘we got something good for you’.
After a short pause, a woman with long blonde hair and high cheekbones stepped forward and introduced herself as Anna.
She read passages from McGowan’s upcoming book. Listening in a state of shock, Weinstein muttered repeatedly: ‘Oh my God.’
Today, Stella Penn Pechanac has left her lucrative job at Black Cube and claims to have turned her back on the murky world of espionage.
She is pregnant with her second child and, in an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, has agreed to lay bare her extraordinary and disturbing double life as an agent for hire.
It is clear from the first moment that Stella is ideal spy material. She comes across as open, engaging and honest, with an unwavering gaze and a seemingly puncture-proof self-confidence.