Two Suspected of Seeking to Extort Money From Footballer's Father

Allegedly threatened to harm father of player who disclosed bribery affair, if father refused to pay them $150,000.

Two men were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attempted extortion in a case involving the father of a player who exposed a bribery affair aimed at "throwing" Israeli Premier League soccer games.

Police of a special anti-extortion unit of Negev district detectives arrested the two, Sami Ali Hamadi and his cousin, Samir Ahmed Alhamada, about a month ago in the course of monitoring their activities. The game-fixing affair came to light about 10 months ago.

Police said that "criminal elements" had offered bribes to five members of the Hapoel Be'er Sheva team in order to secure their cooperation in "throwing" the results of games. The affair emerged after one of the players disclosed it to the team's coach on the eve of a match with Hapoel Ra'anana.

In the end, the players refused to throw the games, and became subject to threats by those who had allegedly sought to bribe them. Three men, Hagai Zaguri, David Ben Simul, and Yaniv Bulbul, were indicted for the alleged bribery attempt.

"We lost a lot of money in connection with that affair, and you've got to pay," one of the suspects allegedly told the father in a telephone call. In the wake of the call, the father contacted police, who began monitoring his calls and the threats he received, including the implied threat of pistol bullets affixed to his car.

On one occasion, the suspects allegedly donned masks and entered the father's office, pointing a rifle at him and threatening to kill him.

One of the two is also accused of obstruction of justice and witness tampering, after he allegedly asked a friend to supply him an alibi by telling police that the two were with him at the time of the events in question.