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Report: Wife of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto Missing in Argentina

Wife of corruption-linked kabbalist disappears from Buenos Aires medical center, officials say.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 8/8/2014, 2:27 PM

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto
Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto
Flash90

The wife of Rabbi Yosef Yoshiyahu Pinto, head of 'Shuvu Yisrael' sect and facing corruption charges in Israel, has gone missing in Argentina, officials from the movement said Friday.

Devorah Pinto has disappeared without a trace from a Buenos Aires medical center, local police announced overnight Thursday/Friday - and fears have been raised that she has been kidnapped. 

"We wish and pray for her health and well-being," said the Rabbi's wife's family, according to Israeli news site Walla!.

Pinto was reportedly suffering from mental health problems, according to the daily, and was placed on suicide watch last May at the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. 

It is unclear why she was slated for medical treatment in Argentina. 

Earlier this year, the Attorney General's Office stated it would file an indictment against Rabbi Pinto, who is being tried for corruption. Pinto allegedly attempted to bribe senior police officer Ephraim Bracha with $200,000 for information about a pending police investigation into the Hazon Yeshaya charity organization, which Pinto was allegedly closely involved with. 

Bracha immediately reported the incident to his superiors, prompting a separate investigation against Rabbi Pinto himself. 

That investigation revealed that Pinto allegedly tried to bribe several other officers for information about the case against Hazon Yeshaya. The charity, which was supposed to have provided millions of dollars to Holocaust survivors and ran a popular soup kitchen and volunteer network in Jerusalem, closed in 2012 under allegations of fraud.

The allegations claim that several members of the charity - including Pinto - stole much of the food donated to the kitchen and sold it for "tens of millions of dollars," according to a 2012 Ha'aretz article. As such, Pinto will also be indicted for other charges, including obstruction of justice and money laundering relating to the case.