Rabbi Pinto Released After Serving Jail Time for Bribery

Kabbalist Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto served one year in prison after being convicted of bribery and other corruption offenses.

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto being released from prison in the early hours of January 25, 2017.
Meged Gozani/Walla News

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto was released from prison early Wednesday morning after serving a one-year sentence for bribery. The senior police commander Ephraim Bracha, who was involved in the corruption scandal, later committed suicide.

The disgraced kabbalist rabbi was convicted of bribing Bracha, who was head of the Israel Police National Fraud Investigation Unit, in May 2015. Pinto was also found guilty of attempted bribery involving a similar sum, and with obstruction of justice.

He was sentenced to one year in prison in a plea bargain and was also ordered to pay a fine of 1 million shekels ($260,000).

His appeal to reduce his sentence to six months’ community service, given his deteriorating medical condition, was denied by the Supreme Court last January.

Pinto is considered one of Israel's wealthiest rabbis. The great-grandson of a famous Moroccan-born mystic known as the Baba Sali, he amassed his fortune while serving as spiritual guru to the rich and powerful in Israel, New York, and elsewhere.