Israeli Police Officer’s Spouse Questioned Over Alleged Bribe-taking

Justice Ministry grills wife of Maj. Gen. Menashe Arviv over benefits apparently received from Rabbi Pinto.

The wife of police officer Maj. Gen. Menashe Arviv was questioned Monday at the offices of the Justice Ministry unit that investigates police officers. Sigal Arviv, who is also a police officer, was quizzed about benefits her husband allegedly received from Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto during the period while her husband was police attaché in Washington.

The investigation department suspects that Arviv and family members may have received bribes.

Until the suspicions against him were made public, Arviv was head of Lahav 433, a unit popularly known as the Israeli FBI. Among other things he was in charge of fraud investigations. He is now on leave of absence, and it is unclear whether he will return to active service.

The department recently recommended launching a criminal investigation against Arviv. It is believed that the State Prosecutor’s Office does not intend to backtrack on its intention to charge Pinto for allegedly attempting to bribe the commander of the Serious and International Crimes Unit, Brig. Gen. Ephraim Bracha, in exchange for information about the probe against him in 2012.

Arviv’s attorney, Gideon Fisher, said Arviv’s wife had not been questioned under warning and she had given “testimony on one subject only.” Fisher added that the department had not summoned Arviv himself to appear.

Pinto’s people say that they have information regarding other police officials who had taken bribes from the rabbi. Police officials said they found at least one such claim to be baseless.

Last week, Pinto wrote a letter to his followers informing them of “terrible persecution” and “the bloodshed we are being caused,” and intimated that he was innocent of giving bribes.

“Those involved know full well in their hearts that we asked for nothing and demanded nothing for ourselves, and our whole purpose was to increase Torah and loving kindness, love and charity among people, and to give honor to God," he wrote.