(photo credit: Ilan Cirota)
Prominent Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto and his wife Rivka remained in house arrest over the weekend, as part of an ongoing national police investigation into allegations of money laundering and that the couple tried to bribe a senior police officer in order to gain information into a sensitive police investigation.
A spokesman for the national police investigation branch would not say which case the Pinto’s tried to gain information about or who the police officer they approached was, but clarified that the bribe was not taken.
On Thursday night the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court ordered the couple released on house arrest for 15 days.
Founder of the Shuva Israel Yeshiva, Pinto is a very prominent rabbi both in Israel and the United States. A celebrity in his own right, he has served as an advisor to a battery of Israel’s elite, including businessman Yitzhak Tshuva, former Kadima Party head Tzipi Livni, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Tycoon Nochi Dankner, and many others.
Pinto’s attorney Yaron Lipshes told Israel Radio on Thursday that his client has cooperated fully with police, and that the suspicions against him are baseless.
In March, the FBI weighed whether or not to open an investigation into allegations that close associates of Rabbi Pinto made illegal campaign contributions
to US Rep. Michael Grimm (R-New York).
A number of Pinto’s supporters raised money for Grimm’s 2010 campaign, but several donors have subsequently said that they donated funds in excess of that permissible by law.
Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.