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A Mississippi man has denied trying to extort $2.5 million from US retailer Best Buy.

Thomas E. Ray III, of Jackson, Mississippi, is accused of sending an email last October threatening to expose alleged security problems at Best Buy unless he was paid off.

Ray, 25, was arraigned on two felony extortion charges in Minneapolis yesterday. He was freed on $10,000 bail following his first court appearance, during which he pleaded not guilty to offences punishable by up to two years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

Best Buy maintains that the alleged security breaches to its system never happened. On receiving blackmail threats, Best Buy contacted the police and worked with agents from the Minnesota CyberCrime task force in investigating the case. ®

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