Israeli police say Leumi credit card extortion thwarted, 8 arrested

JERUSALEM, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Israeli police said on Sunday eight people had been arrested after former and current Bank Leumi staff threatened to expose information about two million of the bank’s credit card accounts unless it paid a ransom.

Leumi said none of the accounts had been compromised. It was unclear from statements issued by the bank and police whether any of the suspects possessed actual credit card information.

Police said a former employee of Leumi Card, a subsidiary of the bank, sent an e-mail to Bank Leumi two weeks ago saying he had copied sensitive data when employed by the bank and would sell the information about two million credit card accounts to the highest bidder.

The alleged extortionist, who was fired a year ago and lives in Thailand, demanded “millions of shekels” from Israel’s second largest bank to keep the data secret, police said.

Police said their cyber unit launched an investigation after being contacted by the bank. They said the suspect in Thailand was arrested by local police and seven other suspects were arrested in Israel on Saturday. (Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and David Clarke)