Kobi Peretz Out on Bail on Suspicions of Tax Evasion

The singer Kobi Peretz was released on bail yesterday by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, but his manager, Yohai Ya'ish, was taken into custody for three more days. The two are suspected of tax evasion, and the authorities say the figure may be as high as NIS 50 million over a number of years.

The tax authorities opened a bank safety deposit box allegedly belonging to Peretz. Peretz had denied that he knew about the box.

The singer was arrested two days ago and was questioned by tax investigators on suspicion that he failed to pay tax and lied that his annual income stood at NIS 300,000.

Peretz, a resident of Holon, has been a singer since 2002. He filed five annual reports on his income, and in 2008 he claimed NIS 328,000 in profits.

However, an inspection of his manager's records raises suspicions that Ya'ish was helping the singer hide millions of shekels, according to investigators, who raided Peretz's home and seized documents.

With Peretz present, investigators broke into the safety deposit box and found $300,000, 10,000 euros and NIS 180,000. The singer opted not to make a statement regarding where the money came from.

The investigation has shown that Peretz charges NIS 45,000 to perform at a wedding, but allegedly only reports NIS 2,000 in receipts.

He has also not filed income tax receipts on any of his performances abroad in recent years, investigators say.

Peretz was relesed, but his car was confiscated, as was his wife's. He had to post NIS 50,000 in bail. The singer also signed a NIS 1 million guarantee and promised not to leave the country for 180 days.