5 indicted in haredi website 'extortion' affair

By JPOST.COM STAFF
July 12, 2012 18:04

Director-general, deputy, 3 employees of Hadrei Haradim site allegedly threatened to publish compromising information.

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Police car in Tel Aviv at night 311. (photo credit:Yoni Cohen)

The Jerusalem Police announced on Thursday it had sufficient evidence to indict five suspects in the Hadrei Haredim website extortion affair.

Police suspected that, over the last two years, five managers of the haredi news site – the director, deputy-director, two content managers and the intermediary between the site and the victims – extorted large sums of money from businessmen, rabbis, organizations and large companies, who paid them hundreds of thousands of shekels.

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The police stated that indictments could be handed down for the extortion and attempted extortion of approximately 20 victims.

The police added that, during their investigation, dozens of other victims who were allegedly extorted and who subsequently paid hundreds of thousands of shekels, gave testimony but refused to file official complaints due to fear of damage to their reputations.

According to the police, the suspects would allegedly extort money by promising to remove defamatory articles from the website in return for monthly or annual payments, or the “protection” of the reputation of victims on the site in return for monthly or annual payments. The case is being passed to the State Attorney’s Office.

“People were worried about what would happen. Some of the information was false, but it would still have ruined reputations in an irreversible way,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld previously said about the investigation.

The investigation began in March, when the Jerusalem District Police received a complaint over alleged extortion.

The man who filed the initial complaint allegedly recorded a phone conversation during which the directorgeneral of the website demanded a sum of money, prompting the investigation.

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