According to a Channel 10 News report filed by Baruch Kra, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto testified against former senior Israel Police commander, Ephraim Bracha. Bracha, who headed the 433 Unit, Israel’s equivalent to the FBI, led to Rav Pinto being investigated.
The Justice Ministry Police Investigations Unit has been probing allegations that while Bracha headed the department’s top investigation’s unit maintained improper connections with detainees and allegedly passed forbidden information to them. These allegations pertain primarily to the investigation into the Port of Ashdod by the unit.
The 10 News report explains since the conviction of Rabbi Pinto someone has been working to bring down Bracha by providing information against him. However to date there has not been sufficient information to launch an investigation against him. The situation has changed and the Justice Ministry investigation unit has decided to open an investigation and based on the findings of this probe it will determine if a criminal investigation is warranted.
Channel 10 reported a number of people have already given statements in the case, including from Rabbi Pinto. Two weeks ago he was summoned to the Justice Ministry’s unit and spoke with investigators. The information provided by the rav will be pivotal towards deciding in a criminal case is to be launched against Bracha.
Last week it was reported that testimony given in a case against Roniel Fischer by former Israel Police commander Eren Malka works to Rav Pinto’s favor as Malka stated Bracha gave the impression he was unwilling to launch an investigation against R’ Pinto despite the evidence demanding such a move. This pointed to an unethical connection between Bracha and Pinto.
During the period when Bracha was close to Rav Pinto, an investigation into the Avi Gabbai crime family was taking place, probing alleged theft of gasoline. Malka said that Bracha headed a major investigation tracking monetary payments, money laundering including funds directed to Rabbi Pinto. Malka explained that they were able to track money from different fuel companies to Rabbi Pinto. Malka explained he turned to Bracha informing him the time had come to bring in Rabbi Pinto for questioning, but Bracha vetoed the move. Malka quotes Bracha saying “Do you have an idea who Rav Pinto is? No way. He is not to be questioned”.
Malka explained he received orders and followed them, hence Rav Pinto was not questioned despite the accumulated evidence that significant sums of monies made their way to the rabbi’s hands.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)