'Ex-mob boss' Roni Harari indicted for extortion

Harari allegedly threatened two men, took cash, a BMW and a Jeep from them; TV appearance led to arrest.

Roni Harari 390 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Roni Harari 390
(photo credit: Channel 10)
The Tel Aviv district attorney filed an indictment in the district court on Monday, charging ex-underworld boss Roni Harari and another man, Andrey Sevastianov, with two counts each of extortion and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Harari, who once headed the notorious Ramat Amidar crime organization, was arrested shortly after trying to show that he had abandoned the world of crime. The alleged extortion came to light last month, after Channel 10 broadcast a documentary on its Real Faces show that included an interview with Harari.
During the interview, a viewer identified the BMW car Harari was driving as belonging to her, and contacted the police. The woman’s husband later alleged that Harari was extorting him.
According to the indictment, Harari and Sevastianov extorted two victims, both of whom had run up debts.
The first complainant ran a check-cashing business and could not pay off his debts, and in August 2010, his colleague and co-debtor turned to Harari and asked him to help sort things out with his creditors and also to collect the first complainant’s share of the debt, the indictment says.
Harari and Sevastianov allegedly arranged a meeting with the first complainant and determined that he would pay them NIS 250,000 in monthly installments of NIS 10,000. Over the next seven months, the complainant paid NIS 70,000 before falling into more financial difficulties, the indictment charges.
In January, Harari and Sevastianov allegedly decided to extort the complainant into paying the rest of his “debt” to them.
The indictment says that Sevastianov told the complainant to meet him in a Givat Shmuel supermarket car park. From there, he followed Harari’s car to a nearby gas station, where Harari and Sevastianov got into the complainant’s car and threatened that they would “cut his face off” unless he paid them NIS 100,000.
In early February, Harari allegedly contacted the complainant, told him he had an “interesting business proposition” and asked him to come to his home in Kadima to discuss it. The complainant drove to Harari’s house in a Jeep Chevrolet. There, Harari and Sevastianov ordered him to follow them into a small room, where they threatened him with a bat and a knife, the indictment says, and then told him they had decided to keep the Jeep.
The second charge relates to a car dealer, whom Harari and Sevastianov extorted in relation to a business dispute, the indictment says. Sevastianov paid several visits to the second complainant’s house, and told his wife that Harari was “looking for him,” and eventually the complainant agreed to drive to Harari’s house, according to the indictment.
There, Harari allegedly ordered the complainant out of his car and threatened to harm him, saying that he would “only get out alive” if he paid NIS 40,000.
Shortly afterward, in July 2011, Harari informed the complainant that he now owed him NIS 1.5 million after backing out of an agreement to go into the car business with him, the indictment says. Allegedly, as payment for this “debt,” Harari forced the complainant to sign a memorandum saying that he was selling his BMW car to him for NIS 410,000.
Alongside the indictment, the district attorney filed a request to remand both defendants in custody throughout the legal proceedings.
Harari’s attorney, Shay Tovim, said that his client denies all of the charges against him.