Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, one of Israel’s most influential rabbis, was questioned by police on Thursday evening on suspicion of having offered a bribe to a senior police officer. His wife, Rivka, was interrogated as well.
A special investigation team of the Investigation and Intelligence Division under the supervision of General Yoav Segalovitch questioned the two under caution, on suspicion that they paid the bribe in order to receive information related to another case being investigated by police. The couple was later brought before the Rishon LeZion Magistrates Court and released under restrictive conditions.
Rabbi Pinto's attorney, Yaron Lipshes, said on Thursday night that his client answered all the questions and gave the investigators all the information known to him. "Rabbi Pinto wants to advance the investigation so he can refute the allegations, allegations that have no basis," said Lipshes.
He added that Rabbi Pinto is convinced that after ascertaining the facts, the police will conclude that was nothing criminal about his actions.
Rabbi Pinto is a highly esteemed spiritual figure who has advised many businessmen, both Israeli and Jewish-American, on both business and personal matters. Some of the more well-known visitors he has received include Yitzhak Tshuva, talk-show host Donny Deutsch, real estate mogul Ofer Yardeni, and even former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Rabbi Pinto is also known for his efforts to encourage more business investments in Israel.
Last year he was at the center of a blackmail case in the United States, where he also has a home. Rabbi Pinto reportedly complained to law enforcement authorities in the United States that he was being blackmailed.
Last November, vandals threw a firecracker at Rabbi Pinto’s home in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod. The firecracker exploded in the rabbi's yard. No one was hurt in the incident.