Police arrest Haredi site employees over blackmail

Suspects alleged to have demanded over NIS 100,000 in exchange for refraining from publishing negative articles about victims.

April 2, 2012 20:01
Behadrei Haharedim

Behadrei Haharedim 370. (photo credit: Screenshot)

Police arrested four senior employees of Haredi news website 'Behadrei Haharedim' on suspicion of blackmail, Israel Police stated Monday.

According to a statement, police suspect that the employees, including the site's managing director, were blackmailing secular and haredi businessmen for months, demanding payment lest the website feature articles portraying their victims negatively. In addition, police suspect that they were also threatening the victims with publishing personal information.

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The suspects are alleged to have demanded various sums, ranging from tens of shekels to hundreds of thousands. In some cases, the suspects received monthly fees in exchange for refraining to publish negative information.

A police investigation revealed that they edited reader talkbalks in exchange for payment, and even wrote their own negative talkbalks where the victims refused to pay.

The suspects have been brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, which extended the remand of the site's managing director until Thursday. The rest of the suspects have been released to house arrest.

Police say that their investigation is ongoing and that they expect to arrest a number of other people involved in the transgressions in the near future.

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