Photo: Gadi Kavalo
Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto.
Photo: Gadi Kavalo
Celebrity rabbi pleads guilty to bribery
A day after being hospitalized for heart issues upon his arrival to Israel from the US, Rabbi Pinto pleads guilty to bribery and obstruction of justice as part of plea bargain for lighter sentence.
Celebrity Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to charges of bribery at the Tel Aviv District Court, to which he arrived directly from the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, where he had been hospitalized immediately upon landing in Israel from the United States.



At the beginning of the hearing, the rabbi said: "My lawyers have read to me the indictment and yes, I admit it."


Rabbi Pinto in court on Tuesday. (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Rabbi Pinto in court on Tuesday. (Photo: Motti Kimchi)


As part of a plea bargain, Rabbi Pinto admitted to the charges of bribery, attempted bribery and obstruction of justice.


The rabbi will serve a lighter term in exchange for his testimony against a high-ranking police officer, Superintendent Efraim Bracha, who has been accused of accepting bribes from Pinto.


Before his arrival to the court house, to which he arrived 20 minutes late, various versions of the rabbi's medical condition were reported. Pinto arrived in Israel on Monday and complained of chest pains during the flight over from the United States.


At the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, medical sources said that the examinations, which included a cardiac catheterization, showed Pinto had suffered from a serious heart problem and his family claimed that he had a blocked artery. Meanwhile, doctors said that he did not suffer from a coronary.


As requested by the prosecution, the judge in the case, Oded Modrik, filed a stay of exit order to ensure Pinto would not be able to leave Israel. On Tuesday, the court ordered Pinto to surrender his passport.


Pinto agreed to testify against former head of the police's Lahav 443 anti-fraud unit Menashe Arbiv last September as part of a formal plea bargain with the state prosecutor. Arbiv was suspected of receiving benefits from businessman close to Rabbi Pinto.


In exchange for the testimony, Pinto was promised a light jail sentence of a year in prison.


Associates of Rabbi Pinto had passed on information to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to try to make a deal: Pinto would provide testimony that would incriminate Arbiv in exchange for the cancellation of the indictment against him and also the investigation into one of the charities Pinto had headed.


The attorney general responded by filing an indictment against Pinto with charges which include bribing Superintendent Bracha in the amount of NIS 400,000 as well as for obstruction of justice.


Bracha had notified his commanders of Pinto's request to bribe him and as per their order he continued to gather evidence against Pinto in the case.


Regarding sentencing, it was agreed Tuesday that the state would demand a one year prison sentence and an additional suspended sentence, fine and forfeiture of a significant amount of funds recovered.


פרסום ראשון: 04.14.15, 12:44
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