Israeli celebrity rabbi sentenced to prison for bribery

AP News
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Posted: May 12, 2015 3:00 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Tel Aviv court has sentenced an Israeli celebrity rabbi with a following in the United States to prison after he pleaded guilty to bribing a senior police official.

The court gave Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto on Tuesday a year in prison and a 1 million shekel (about $250,000) fine.

Pinto had pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain reached last year. He admitted to offering bribes in 2012 to receive classified information on a police investigation into one of his charitable organizations. He has 45 days to appeal.

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.