Members taking part in the dubious meeting at the Carlton Hotel in Tel Aviv were likely surprised to receive such courteous service from the hotel waiters. They had no idea that these waiters were actually part of a special undercover police unit playing dress-up. The waiters were only interested in documenting an extortion meeting between an important religious personality and the suspects held at the hotel.
Special detectives arrested suspects in an extortion and threat case of an important and influential Bnei Brak rabbi in Tel Aviv on Monday afternoon.
According to police intelligence, some of the suspects belong to crime organizations, so the meeting was held in a hotel due to a growing concern of criminal entanglement and the suspects' money demands.
This odd case began a few weeks back, when a Jewish millionaire living in New York wanted to know what happened to his $600,000 donation he had given a well know religious personality in the ultra-Orthodox sector in Bnei Brak. When he arrived in Israel and was not welcomed by the religious personality, he began worrying about what might have happened to his money.
When his assistants approached the rabbi, he said that he had never received the money.
At this point, mediators steps in offering to help return the money to the American millionaire. One of these mediators turned to a well know criminal, who in return demanded $50,000 fee for retrieving the donation sum, however the criminal and his associates demanded to get their fee using extortion and threats.
The well-known religious personality and his people were afraid of making things worse and decided to involve the police in the matter.
This is how the meeting in Carlton Hotel came about. The head of the investigation, Chief Inspector Avi Goldin, prepared for the meeting ahead of time, placing recording and listening devices in the hotel lobby. The "head waiter" was Chief Superintendent Yoav Cotler.
Within a short while, all the characters met in the lobby and began to threaten the religious personality, demanding he return the donation money. At the end of the meeting, the police arrested the extortion suspects and since then has extended their arrest a few times.
The Magistrate Court in Tel Aviv approved publicizing the affair, but has yet to release the names of those involved.
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