Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto and the state are on the verge of a plea bargain agreement for him to testify against former Lahav 443 police commander Menashe Arbiv on corruption charges, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Arbiv, the former head of the “Israeli FBI,” resigned from his post on February 9 over the scandal, though he continues to vehemently proclaim his innocence and charges Pinto as corrupt and manipulating the state.
Pinto returns to Israel Tuesday from the US and will be interrogated by the police, including likely polygraph tests, as part of a final round of confirmation of whether his allegations against Arbiv are sound.
The plea bargain, if completed, would include Pinto pleading guilty to a reduced indictment and the state agreeing not to ask for more than a year of prison time.
Pinto would be free to argue to the court that despite his admission of guilt, he should be given no prison time, the Post has learned.
In the February negotiations of a plea bargain, the deal appeared to be falling apart over the questionable veracity of Pinto’s allegations and his demand that any indictment against him be totally withdrawn.
It appears that Pinto reduced his demands to make a deal.
In February, Arbiv sent a letter to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein rejecting the accusations as not only false, but impossible.
The letter referenced allegations that have surfaced against Arbiv by Pinto and his followers, including that Pinto’s follower Ben Zion Suki paid for Arbiv to stay in a hotel in New York between June 9 and June 14, 2009.
Arbiv’s letter, drafted by his lawyer Gidon Fischer, provided what appeared to be a copy of Arbiv’s schedule during those days, indicating that he was meeting with President Shimon Peres in Washington and giving a speech to the Anti-Defamation league – also in the US capital – during those days.
The next allegation against Arbiv was that Pinto got him a discount on a house in Tel Aviv.
To refute this allegation, the letter provided what it identified as a statement from Arica Israel, connected with the buying of the house, as saying that Arbiv never bought a home through it. The letter also says that Arbiv has continuously rented and did not buy a home.
Arbiv was accused of getting help from Pinto for obtaining a green card for his son.
The letter provides a statement from Arbiv’s son that he never obtained a green card and was in the US on an Australian visa obtained through his Australian in-laws as well as a polygraph test that appears to indicate that Arbiv’s son honestly rejected the allegations.
Further, the letter rebutted the accusations by Pinto’s follower Gil Menashe that he paid for flights for Pinto’s son and wife through the Kikar Yahalom travel agency, arguing that the agency has denied ever having had tickets purchased through it for Arbiv’s family.
One allegation that the letter does not directly address is the allegation that Arbiv’s son received money from Pinto over a period of time, but a spokesman for Arbiv said that this issue was also addressed in a polygraph test administered to Arbiv’s son.
The letter praises the state for what then appeared to be a decision to go all out after Pinto, but expresses outrage at the media for “brutally spilling the blood” of Arbiv and convicting and judging him in a public relations circus before any real legal proceedings took place.
Also, the letter strongly implied that Weinstein should make a swift decision regarding Arbiv’s case in order to clear Arbiv’s name, and clarified that Arbiv resigned from the police only to deprive Pinto of a “dream deal” of giving evidence to the state in exchange for immunity.