Following his polygraph test and testimony he submitted against Maj. Gen. Menashe Arviv with the police, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto has reached an agreement with the prosecution to become a state witness. Under the terms of the plea bargain, Rabbi Pinto will testify to the court, and will admit to attempting to bribe former Fraud Unit head Brig. Gen. Ephraim Bracha, and attempting to obstruct justice.
In exchange for his testimony, the prosecution will ask for a reduced sentence of just one year of jail time for attempting to bribe a police officer. The significance of the deal isigned s that the prosecution may now use materials that Pinto delivered pertaining to former 433 Lahav Unit commander Menashe Arviv.
Following this development, Arviv is expected to be questioned under caution already in the coming days. The plea bargain is subject to court approval.
Last May, with the formulation of the indictment against Brig. Gen. Ephraim Bracha, Pinto brought Maj. Gen. Arviv into the equation as well. The rabbi and his team offered the prosecution information about the former head of Lahav 433 in exchange for dropping the chapters pertaining to Pinto. At the time, Arviv’s lawyers claimed that the alleged documents and evidence submitted by Pinto’s lawyers were “lies.”
During Pinto’s investigation a few months ago, he dealt with the claims and counter-findings presented by Arviv’s lawyers. Already then, it was decided that, if the information Pinto provided was found to be credible, the outline that had been formulated by his lawyers, according to which he would request a single year of jail time, would be approved, and Pinto would become a state witness against Menashe Arviv.
Pinto’s lawyers tried to avoid jail time, but the final draft indicates that, in the end, they agreed to the incarceration that the prosecution demanded - which seemingly indicates that there is strong evidence against Pinto in attempting to bribe Brig. Gen. Ephraim Bracha.
Pinto’s wife was recorded by the police attempting to transfer 100,000 Swiss francs to Brig. Gen. Bracha’s wife. According to the police and the prosecution, the money was intended to be payment for information regarding the investigation that was underway between their spouses, regarding suspicions that funds were transferred from the “Chazon Yishayahu” charitable fund to the Pintos’s private account.
But Pinto claimed that there was no bribery attempt, and, when his claims were not accepted, he opened an all-out war against police leadership and his former associates and followers, foremost among them Menashe Arviv. Pinto and his associates presented, among other things, evidence indicating that Arviv apparently received favors while he was serving as Israel’s police attaché in New York.
In the last year, Rabbi Pinto’s organization suffered a great defeat following the distancing of many businessmen and senior defense establishment figures, who had been followers of the rabbi and frequent guests in his home during recent years. His incarceration, when and if the plea deal with the prosecution and police is finalized, could be a fatal blow to the organization, which established its position over the years thanks in part to its close relationship with top-tier financial and government leadership in Israel and the US.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 17, 2014
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