Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
Israeli tax officials are alleging Thursday that supermodel Bar Refaeli and her mother, Tzipi, failed to report tens of millions of shekels in income earned for work done abroad.
Authorities lifted a gag order on Thursday permitting the press to report that Refaeli was questioned for hours by tax officials in Tel Aviv as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged financial irregularities.
Investigators also suspect that Refaeli was delinquent in reporting “celebrity perks” that she received, the value of which exceeded tens of thousands of shekels.
The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Thursday agreed – with the consent of tax authorities – to release Refaeli on NIS 750,000 bail. She is also required to remain in the country and to leave a deposit of NIS 250,000 in cash.
Tzipi Refaeli, who is also being subject to questioning, has also been released on bail.
Tax officials quizzed Refaeli as to why she did not pay NIS 40,000 in rental fees for her apartment at the W Prime tower in Tel Aviv. Refaeli told investigators that her mother kept the apartment ready for her once she had decided to return to Israel.
The model was also questioned about the circumstances of services rendered to her by a designer at a steep discount. Tax authorities suspect that Refaeli paid the designer – who was also questioned – NIS 40,000 for work that is believed to be valued at NIS 100,000.
The designer acknowledged that he did, in fact, give Refaeli a significant discount in exchange for which she would offer public relations services on his behalf.
Tax authorities also grilled Refaeli about a luxury car that she is alleged to have received for free. Officials say that Refaeli did not report receiving the gift, and that in lieu of payment, she made promotional appearances and did public relations work on behalf of the car manufacturer from whom she accepted the vehicle.
The supermodel was also asked why she claimed that she resided abroad. Tax officials say that Refaeli and her mother did not divulge tens of millions of shekels in income generated from her modeling work abroad.
In response, Refaeli told investigators that she considered herself to be an expatriate, thus necessitating less tax payments to the Israeli government.
Officials are trying to determine whether Refaeli can be considered a resident of Israel, which will go a long way toward determining the amount of taxes she needs to pay.
Refaeli and her mother were the subject of a lengthy, undercover investigation by tax officials who allege that they filed false reports while claiming that the supermodel was living abroad.
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