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British media tycoon Robert Maxwell was murdered by the Israeli intelligence agency, according to a new book that also alleges the flamboyant millionaire was a spy for Israel and had links to organized crime in Eastern Europe.

Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy, to be published in December, says that Israel's Mossad decided to get rid of Mr. Maxwell because he was threatening to expose his knowledge of Israeli secrets unless he received Israeli help in propping up his failing businesses.

Mr. Maxwell's sudden death at sea in November of 1991 brought about the collapse of his worldwide publishing empire.

It triggered varying theories about his death, ranging from suicide and murder to accident.

He disappeared overboard just as the complex web of financial deals keeping his businesses afloat was beginning to unravel, and a few weeks after U.S. investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published a book saying that Mr. Maxwell had close ties with the Israeli intelligence agency.

Mr. Maxwell had denied those claims and initiated a lawsuit against Mr. Hersh for libel in the weeks before he died.

The new book, by British thriller writer Gordon Thomas and Irish journalist Martin Dillon, is based on interviews with former Mossad agents and chiefs, including David Kimche, a former Mossad official.