Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger told police that he never took bribe money nor did he become rich. If nonprofit funds were taken by his aide and driver Rav Eisenstatt he told police, the latter did so without his knowledge and he, the chief rabbi, never received this money.
Rabbi Metzger was arrested on Thursday, 12 Tammuz 5773, questioned by police for ten hours regarding allegations of accepting bribes, tax evasion and money laundering. He was released to five days under house arrest. The rav was also questioned on erev Shabbos and on Sunday, 15 Tammuz. The rabbi denied the accuracy of wiretaps which point to his guilt Maariv adds, stating he insists he has no knowledge of any wrongdoing regarding funds earmarked for tzedaka organizations.
The rav insists that “I did not get rich in recent years” and the apartment allegedly purchased with illegal assets was actually acquired with family funds and not funds taken from donations.
A senior official involved in the investigation is quoted anonymously by Maariv adding “We would never arrest a chief rabbi unless we had very serious evidence in hand”.
While the rav’s house arrest was supposed to end on Tuesday, 17 Tammuz, it was extended for an additional three days.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)