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October 4, 2015 / 21 Tishri, 5776
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Two Israelis Charged with Blackmailing a New York Rabbi

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The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s offices today submitted to the magistrate court an indictment and an arrest order against Shay Cohen and Simon Soriano, on charges of attempting to blackmail a Rabbi in a New York Jewish congregation. The name of the Rabbi has not been released for publication.

The two are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, and attempting to blackmail using threats. Cohen has also been charged with making threats and trying to intimidate a witness.

According to the indictment, Shai Cohen conspired with Soriano to blackmail the rabbi of a Jewish congregation in New York whom he had known previously. The two hired a woman to initiate an incident to be later used in the blackmail. The woman later told the accused that she had regrets, and then told told the rabbi of the plan to blackmail him. The accused threatened her life in response.

According to the indictment, Cohen later turned to another woman to join his criminal conspiracy to blackmail the rabbi. She, too, decided at a certain point to back out.

On July 17, after she received threats, the second woman filed a complaint with the police. Even after she had complained, Cohen kept trying to persuade her to retract the complaint.

The names of the rabbi and the two women have not yet been released.

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