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September 3, 2015 / 19 Elul, 5775
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HE WARNED THE COPS

Wife of ‘Businessmen’s Rabbi’ Attempted Suicide following Bribery Charges

Deborah Pinto, wife of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, who is suspected, along with her husband, of trying to bribe a senior police officer, attempted suicide on Sunday by taking pills.
Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto.

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto.
Photo Credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90

Deborah Pinto, wife of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, who is suspected, along with her husband, of trying to bribe a senior police officer, attempted suicide on Sunday by taking pills. Mrs. Pinto, who was picked up for questioning last Thursday, together with her husband, and was released with him under restrictive conditions, is in satisfactory condition at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Walla reported.

Rabbi Pinto released a statement saying: “We pray for the well being of the Rebbetzin along with thousands of followers. Our attorneys warned the authorities about her condition. Unfortunately, they did not show here the required sensitivity. We are certain that she will recover soon and say what she has to say to the investigators, until all of them understand that there was nothing wrong with her behavior and that a great injustice has been done.”

At the end of his interrogation today, Rabbi Pinto was taken to the hospital, where he is staying by his wife’s bed. He received a special suspension of his house arrest so he can be with his wife. Many associates and family members have arrived at the hospital.

The investigation against Rabbi Pinto and his wife began a few weeks ago, after Pinto allegedly offered the chief of the police investigations division chief, Brigadier General Bracha, hundreds of thousands of shekels in return for details of an ongoing police investigation. The officer reported the offer to the head of the Investigations Department, General Yoav Segalovitch, who sent Bracha back to gather evidence against the rabbi. When he became convinced an investigation was called for, Segalovitch appointed a special investigation team to handle the sensitive case.

Rabbi Pinto and his wife returned last Thursday from the U.S. and the moment they landed were taken for questioning in the city of Ramla, where investigators told them of the bribe allegations against them. In addition, police are considering charges of money laundering against the rabbi and his wife. They couple have both denied the allegations.

At the end of the investigation, they were taken to a hearing before a judge, where police asked that they be released under restrictive conditions—house arrest—as well as post bail of 1 million shekel each and be forbidden to leave the country for six months.

Rabbi Josiah Pinto is considered the spiritual leader of prominent Jewish businessmen in Israel and around the world. In recent years, many business leaders have been making pilgrimages to Rabbi Pinto’s house, and accompany him on his annual journey to the grave of Rabbi Eliezer Papo (1785–1828, author of Pele Yoetz, a manuscript on ethical behavior) in Bulgaria.

Among those tied to the rabbi, are Shari Arison, Nochi Dankner, Jacky Ben-Zaken and Ilan Ben Dov.

Rabbi Pinto, who began his career in Ashdod, now divides his time between Israel and Manhattan, where he mentors a large community of Jewish businessmen. He counsels businessmen before they make major transactions, and in many cases serves as an arbitrator in financial disputes. Last June, Israel Forbes magazine estimated Rabbi Pinto’s fortune at $75 million.

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