(photo credit: SHAUL GOLAN/GPO)
Former Lahav 433 police commander Menashe Arbiv was convicted in a plea bargain on Thursday of failing to report that Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto offered him a NIS 60,000 bribe to thwart the criminal case against him.
The Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court which issued the verdict left open to the sides to decide how severe Arbiv’s sentence should be, including whether the conviction should be modified to a court finding, as opposed to a formal conviction that would remain on his record. Arbiv refused Pinto’s offer.
As head of Lahav 433, also referred to as “the Israeli FBI,” Arbiv is one of the most senior Israeli law enforcement officials in history to be convicted of a crime. Pinto himself was later convicted of other bribery-related crimes and served one year in prison.
Arbiv was initially indicted in March 2017 of both failure to report and breach of trust for a range of other financial allegations regarding Pinto, but those other allegations were dropped in the deal.
In January 2016, a statement from then-attorney-general Yehuda Weinstein’s office said Arbiv had an inappropriately close relationship with Pinto from 2010-2013.
Interactions between Arbiv and Pinto started in 2010 when Pinto was active in Ashdod and New York.
Arbiv requested Pinto’s help to find jobs for his wife and son in New York and get a discount for buying a residence in north Tel Aviv’s Savyoney Ramat Aviv neighborhood.
Pinto also paid $2,650 to help Arbiv’s wife get a US work visa.
Pinto and Arbiv allegedly continued dealings even after Arbiv learned, as head of Lahav 433, that Pinto was under criminal investigation.
Arbiv perjured himself when he was interrogated by police about any connections he had with Pinto.
He resigned over the scandal in February 2014, but proclaimed his complete innocence for years.
The court set a September hearing for Arbiv’s sentencing.