Israel Police dismisses claims about ‘severe’ internal scandal

Police insists that information circulating in media is unsubstantiated; rumors come amid development in Pinto bribery case.

Rabbi Yeshayahu Pinto (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Rabbi Yeshayahu Pinto
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Israel Police responded on Tuesday to recent reports of a “severe scandal” in the law-enforcement body, insisting that the information making the rounds in the press was unsubstantiated.
“We advise reporters and others to avoid artificially creating something that is nothing but air supported by the scattering of hints about the leadership of the Israel Police,” it said.
It added that the reports were on the brink of violating gag orders and that “the connection between them and reality is nonexistent.”
The police were referring to reports in Haaretz and elsewhere this week that “a severe scandal is shaking the Israel Police.” According to the media, the case threatens the national police’s top brass and will deal a serious blow to public faith in the organization.
The police response came as local media reported Tuesday that there were new developments in the bribery case against influential Rabbi Yeshayahu Pinto.
The police stressed that the Pinto case or any other singular case could not compromise the reputation of an entire organization adding that the police's reputation could certainly not be shaken by the dramatic statements of some journalists. 
Last year, Pinto was arrested along with his wife after police allegedly recorded him giving a briefcase full of cash to Brig.-Gen.
Ephraim Bracha, today the head of the police’s National Fraud Investigative Unit.
Police said at the time that Pinto was trying to bribe Bracha in order to gain information about an investigation into a charity Pinto ran. However, Pinto denied that charge.
Bracha himself was a follower of the Ashdod- and New York-based rabbi in the past and, according to people close to Pinto, had previously received economic assistance from the rabbi.
Last week, Channel 10 and Haaretz reported that the attorney-general had decided to put a hold on the police investigation and the issuing of an indictment against Pinto, after receiving new information about the case.
Reports have circulated that the information was linked to an FBI investigation in which Pinto is a witness, as well as his personal connection to Bracha.
Police would not comment on the Pinto case on Tuesday, saying that the case was not in their hands.
The Justice Ministry would not comment on the case, either, though one source from the ministry did say that Bracha, whom a ministry probe previously cleared, was not the subject of a Justice Ministry investigation.