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Minister Ariel Atias
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Minister Atias deposed in haredi website extortion case
Police question housing and construction minister in connection to Hadrei Haredim blackmail scheme; Atias denies being blackmailed
Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias was deposed by the police on Monday in connection with the Hadrei Haredim extortion case.

 

The minister's associates stressed that he was not among the prominent figures allegedly blackmailed by the website and that he cleared the matter up with the police.

 

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Hadrei Haredim is considered one of the sector's most influential media outlets and last week's raid on its officers – and subsequent arrest of five suspects for alleged extortion – has rattled the ultra-Orthodox community.

 

Police believe that the website's top officials blackmailed haredi lobbyists and rabbis in exchange for withholding possibly embarrassing publications about them, as well as for removing negative comments on items mentioning them and promoting flattering items.

 

The police is seeking a court order that would allow them to shut down the website. Police officials said that the extortion plot is one of the biggest one in the department's history.

 

Yair Altman contributed to this report

 

 

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