Metzger's former aide released to house arrest in bribery case also involving chief rabbi

Suspect a former driver and top aid to the Ashkenazi chief rabbi is placed under house arrest pending indictment.

June 30, 2013 20:21
1 minute read.
Former chief rabbi Yona Metzger

CHIEF RABBI Yona Metzger 370. (photo credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)

The Rehovot Magistrate’s Court released to house arrest on Sunday a former driver and top aide to Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger in the ongoing bribery case against Metzger and two others.

Held in custody for over a week, and for longer than any of the other defendants, Haim Nissan Eisenshtat will be placed under house arrest for a minimum of 15 days, pending the filing of an indictment.

Eisenshtat will be prohibited from interacting with anyone but immediate family during that time and must hand over his passport to prevent him from leaving the country.

Further, Eisenshaft and two guarantors must deposit NIS 50,000 before he can be released to house arrest, which the police can confiscate if he goes on the run.

The case has nearly brought down the chief rabbi, his aide and two others on bribery, money-laundering and fraud allegations.

The two other suspects – Simcha Karkovsky, manager of the Beit Hatavshil charity in Bnei Brak, and Rabbi Nissan Ben- Zion Zioni, head of a study hall and rabbinical school in Tel Aviv – had been in police custody, but were both released to house arrest earlier than Eisenshaft, suggesting that the driver is more at the center of the alleged scandal.

The decision comes following a successful appeal last week by the three men to the Lod District Court, in which it overruled the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court’s earlier decision extending the suspects detention.

The Lod Court said that the police would be able to complete their investigation earlier than originally estimated.

Metzger remains under house arrest and last week, he suspended himself from most major duties, pending completion of the case. In 2005, a bribery, fraud, and breach of trust case was opened against him, but then-attorney-general Menahem Mazuz decided to close the case in April 2006. At the time, Mazuz said he was disturbed by revelations about how Metzger behaved during the investigation and called for the rabbi to resign.

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