The State Attorney's Office intends to summon model Bar Refaeli for a pre-indictment hearing, Israel Television News Company reported yesterday evening. According to the report, the charges against Refaeli will be false testimony, and taxation and money laundering offenses.
The file on Refaeli has been with the State Attorney's Office for some time, after it was transferred by the Israel Tax Authority. The State Attorney's Office's delay in reaching a conclusion was due to, among other things, Refaeli's failure to hand over to Tax Authority investigators details and documents in connection with overseas bank accounts, at UBS, Credit Suisse, and Bank of Cyprus.
Yesterday's report is a direct continuation of the tax affair in which Refaeli is involved that was reported in August 2017. The suspicion is that the contracts on Refaeli's homes were signed by her mother and brother in order to conceal the fact that she resides in Israel, and that she failed to pay taxes on tens of millions of shekels in income.
Refaeli is also suspected of receiving unreported "celebrity benefits" and "celebrity discounts" worth over NIS 1 million.
Under the Income Tax Ordinance, a resident of Israel is liable to tax on his or her worldwide income, whereas a foreign resident is liable to tax only on income derived in Israel.
Refaeli's legal representatives Adv. Moshe Mizrachi, Adv. Udi Barzilai, and Adv. Ruth Litvak stated in response: "We were very sorry to hear via the media that Bar will be summoned for a hearing. We are sure that after our arguments are heard at the State Attorney's Office, the case will be closed. It should be recalled that this is a highly unusual case, as the civil proceeding will be conducted and concluded in the Lod District Court, and all the testimony and evidence in the case have been heard in that framework.
"After end of the civil proceeding, in which the evidence was closely examined, we are strengthened in our view that there is no basis for even a suspicion of criminal conduct. Cases like these end in settlements with the tax assessors around the country, on the civil level only. We have no doubt that this case has reached such heights solely because the lady's name is Bar Refaeli."
Presumption of innocence: Bar Refaeli has not been convicted of any crime, and she is entitled to the benefit of the presumption of innocence. No indictment has yet been filed, no letter of summons to a hearing has been sent, and it is not known how criminal proceedings, if any, will end. Accused persons are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 31, 2018
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