An investigation into alleged extortion at a prominent haredi (ultra-Orthodox)
website has widened in recent days and includes new witnesses, police said
According to allegations, the director-general of the Hadrei
Haredim news site and three employees extorted members of the haredi community,
threatening to publish content that would damage their reputations if large sums
were not paid to them.
“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 said.
extorted paid between NIS 10,000 and 100,000 to prevent publication, police
said. Police suspect that millions of shekels were extorted this way.
investigation began in March when Jerusalem District Police received a complaint
over alleged extortion.
The man who filed the complaint allegedly
recorded a phone conversation with the director-general of the website in which
sums were were demanded, prompting the investigation.
is getting wider. More people have come forward with testimonies,” Rosenfeld
Those questioned in the investigation include people living
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended the director-general’s
custody by five days on Wednesday.
During the court session, the
director-general’s attorney, Yehoshua Raznik, accused police of conducting a
vindictive investigation because the site published an anti-police poster
showing Jerusalem District Police chief Cmdr. Niso Shaham in an SS uniform. The
publication came during the height of tensions between members of the haredi
community and police in Beit Shemesh earlier this year.
“You are here on
behalf of the district commander and making harsh claims because of this
publication,” Raznik told the police representative to the court, according to
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders