Rabbi Pinto offered plea bargain

Deal would see prominent spiritual adviser serve a year in prison, testify against former top cop

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto
Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto

An Israeli prosecutor has offered Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, a spiritual adviser to several New York City real estate power players, a plea bargain that would see him sentenced to prison for one year.

Pinto, who is currently in New York, is said to be leaning toward accepting the offer made by the court. His attorneys, Moshe Mazor and Roei Belchar, are expected to request reduced jail time, according to a preliminary report by Israeli website Walla.

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The final indictment is expected to include one count of bribery and one count of obstruction of justice. One of the conditions of the plea bargain is that Pinto must return to Israel before signing the deal to give testimony against retired Major General Menashe Avriv, the former commander of the Israeli police’s corruption unit, Lahav 433. Avriv resigned in February from the position, amidst allegations that he had accepted bribes and other favors from Pinto.

In October 2012, Pinto was arrested on charges that he offered $200,000 to Brigadier General Ephraim Bracha, chief of the Police Investigation Division, who was investigating Pinto on suspicion of money laundering. Pinto has vehemently denied the charges, telling Israeli television in September that “it is prohibited to bribe. It is a very serious offense in the Torah.”

Developers Haim Binstock, Stonehenge Partners’ Ofer Yardeni and the Sapir Organization’s Zina Sapir are reportedly among the charismatic rabbi’s followers, and Ben Zion Suky is a close aide.