Former underworld kingpin Roni Harari and another man were indicted on Monday on two charges of extortion and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Harari, formerly one of the leaders of the notorious Ramat Amidar crime gang, and Andrey Sevastyanov were charged in Tel Aviv's District Court with extorting money on two occasions from people who had run up debts.
The first complainant, Avi Levy, who ran a check-clearing business, asked Harari for help in sorting out a NIS 250,000 debt to his business partner, Eyal Zoares, in August 2010.
Harari agreed to take over Levy's debt, but instructed Zoares to pay him the sum in monthly payments of NIS 10,000. Seven months later, after Zoares had paid Harari some NIS 70,000, he stopped paying, presumably due to financial difficulties, the indictment says.
In January 2012 Harari threatened Zoares to slash his face unless he paid him NIS 100,000 immediately. Zoares promised to pay, but could only give Harari Harari NIS 5,000 at the time.
Harari summoned Zoares to his home in moshav Kadima, saying he had a business proposal for him. Once there, Harari and Sevastyanov took Zoares to another house in the moshav and told him "you're not getting out of there until you pay up," the charge sheet says.
Harari also seized Zoares' jeep, although the latter told him he did not own it.
The second charge started with a business dispute Harari was asked to help with in May 2011. Boaz Moshe, a car dealer, had a falling out with a client over a truck sale and the latter threatened to involve Harari in the matter, according to the indictment.
Moshe asked his friend Michael Srikov, another car dealer, to find out what ties the buyer had with Harari. Srikov made inquiries and said there were none. A month later Moshe received a phone call from Harari, who demanded money for "involving his name" in the dispute, the charge sheet says.
A few weeks later Srikov met Harari on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv and asked for his help in collecting a debt. Harari agreed in exchange for NIS 40,000.
When Srikov had trouble paying the money, Harari summoned him to his home saying he had a business proposal for him. Once there Harari and Sevastyanov took him to a nearby forest and threatened "you're not coming out of here alive unless you pay NIS 40,000."
Harari told Srikov he was now partner in his car dealership and Srikov owed him NIS 1.5 million for his partnership.
Srikov couldn't pay and Harari took over his BMW SUV, estimated at NIS 500,000, and ordered Sarikov to sign a memorandum saying he received NIS 410,000 from Sevastyanov for the vehicle. Srikov refused, then agreed under threat, although he received no money for the car, the charge says.
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