Hapoel Tel Aviv Eran Zehavi, Douglas da Silva311.
(photo credit: AP)
Former Hapoel Kfar Saba player Liron Zarko and his father were arrested on
Wednesday on suspicion of attempting to extort Brazilian defender Douglas da
Silva, who until recently played for Hapoel Tel Aviv, and who is about to join
Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg.
Zarko and his father allegedly threatened to
spread damaging claims in the media about da Silva if their demands for hundreds
of thousands of dollars were not met, police said.
Da Silva, who is set
to join Salzburg for a transfer fee of 2.6 million euros, is not allowed leave
the country after having his passport confiscated on Wednesday to ensure his
cooperation with the on-going investigation.
Da Silva and Zarko were
teammates at Hapoel Kfar Saba between 2005 and 2008 and, according to police,
Zarko threatened to circulate photos of the married da Silva together with other
women, as well as other embarrassing claims, should the Brazilian not pay him
Da Silva was set to fly out to Salzburg on Thursday, but will
now have to remain in the country at least during the coming days, while Zarko
will remain in remand at least until Sunday.
“We received the news with
surprise,” a statement released by Hapoel Tel Aviv read. “We trust the police to
complete the investigation and we will cooperate as much as needed.”