A Haifa man was officially accused on Thursday of kidnapping a woman, blackmailing her with nude photos and forcing her to enter a bank with a fake explosives vest in order to rob it.
Moshe Shoval, 69, was charged by the State Prosecution with attempted bank robbery, as well as kidnapping, extortion, assault, forgery, and sexual offenses.
According to the indictment, Shoval kidnapped the 31-year-old woman — who worked at the bank — and put the vest on her before ordering her to rob the bank on September 2.
He allegedly sexually blackmailed her with nude photos that he took against her will, threatening to publicize the photos if she did not do as he demanded.
The woman, who was initially arrested for her involvement in the attempted heist, has not been identified publicly.
Prosecutors say that Shoval arrived at the woman’s home disguised as a member of the bank’s security department and said that he needed to question her over a robbery at the bank last year. However, when she got into his car, he allegedly kidnapped her.
Along with the fake vest, prosecutors said that Shoval gave the woman a cellphone to pass to the bank manager as part of an alleged scheme to steal NIS 3 million (over $936,000) via an electronic bank transfer.
However, after the woman entered the bank, the manager was able to take the device from her, and she was arrested and taken for questioning.
Large police forces were called to the scene and several streets were blocked off in Haifa’s Hadar neighborhood as officials feared the bomb she carried could be real, though police sappers determined it was fake after an hour.