Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto has signed an agreement setting the terms of his cooperation as a state witness against former senior Israel Police office, Major-General Menashe Arbiv. One of the witnesses in the case against Rabbi Pinto is Police Major-General Ephraim Bracha, who accepted bribe funds from Pinto after reporting the bribe offer to his superiors, documenting the transaction. In the plea bargain agreement, Rabbi Pinto has agreed to serve a year in prison as he was compelled to admit to some of his illegal actions including bribery.
People assisting Rabbi Pinto are providing documentation attesting to the fact that Rebitzen Pinto maintained a close relationship with Bracha and his wife. Pinto’s defense team is working to minimize the jail time the rabbi will have to serve. What is clear at present is that Rabbi Pinto cannot deny the transaction involving 100,000 Swiss francs.
The Pinto team maintains that Bracha has concocted the bribery episode to dilute the integrity of the rabbi’s testimony to the FBI investigators involved in the case during which the rabbi links Bracha to him.
Rabbi Pinto and his rebitzen told FBI agents that they conducted hundreds of phone conversations and text messages with Bracha and his wife, both local and trans-Atlantic but Israel Police investigators of the 433 Unit regarded this as inconsequential. Bracha was questioned by Israel Police regarding the phone calls and text messages on 15 October 2013, responding it was not significant and therefore he does not recall their content and that he did not save the text messages. He told his colleagues that he is certain that he reported the calls and messages to relevant officials at the time.
Members of the Pinto team on Monday 5 Tishrei revealed that there are 267 calls and SMS text messages between the rebitzen and Bracha’s phones from January 2012 until the case hit the media in October 2012. It was also revealed that on August 2 of that year, the day on which Rabbi Pinto and the rebitzen were questioned regarding the activities of the Chazon Yoshiyahu organization, there were 30 calls between them and Bracha that have not been reported to date.
The Pinto team adds that it has additional recordings involving conversations between Rabbi Pinto and Bracha of the days from when the rabbi offered Bracha money until he reported the event to his superior officers, amounting to nine days.
Investigators are now scratching their heads in bewilderment, uncertain if Bracha will be added to the senior officers in the department who are suspected of illegal activity connected to Rabbi Pinto.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)