Figure: Menashe Arbiv – head of Israel Police National Investigations Unit (“the Israeli FBI”), was forced to resign for taking bribes from Pinto, Rabbi Pinto was convicted in a secretive, dubious trial on attempting to bribe Ephraim Bracha – head of Israel Police National Fraud Unit. Pinto's claims that he also bribed Bracha are supported by AG Lynch's letter, but the Israeli justice system refuses to investigate the claims against Bracha.
Figure: A February 2015 letter from AG Loretta Lynch, leaked this week, supports Pinto's claim of having bribed officer Bracha, Head of the Israel Police National Fraud Investigations Unit, which the Israeli justice system is trying to cover up.
Figure: Former US Congressman (R-NY) Michael Grimm benefited from illegal campaign funding by Rabbi Pinto.
Figure: Judge Oded Mudrick of the Tel-Aviv District Court is the current point-man in efforts to cover up the embarrassing scandal - through a secretive, perverted court process.
OccupyTLV, May 1 – the latest government corruption scandal, where “kabbalist” Rabbi Josiah Pinto is the central figure, was again in the headlines this week, on several accounts... In recent years, the 41 year old Rabbi Pinto has been at the center of corruption investigations both in the US – which ended in conviction of former US Congressman (R-NY) Michael Grimm [i] – and in Israel – which led to the resignation of the Head of Israel Police National Investigations Unit (“the Israeli FBI”) Menashe Arbiv, whom Pinto apparently bribed. [ii] Pinto has repeatedly claimed that he also bribed Head of Israel Police National Fraud Investigations Unit Ephraim Bracha, but Israeli law enforcement and justice authorities refuse to investigate these claims, supported by FBI and US AG Lynch. The case also generated a rift between US and Israeli law enforcement agencies: Earlier, FBI transferred to Israel Police its evidence of Israel Police corruption, discovered in the Michael Grimm investigation. Israel Police and an unnamed Israeli cabinet member (most likely Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni) then tried to undermine the Michael Grimm investigation. [iii] Now FBI is retaliating by advertising the evidence of Israel Police corruption, which Israeli government is working hard to cover up... [iv]
In side stories, millions were apparently embezzled from Rabbi Pinto's NYC congregation; [v] Pinto was accused by his father in law, Chief Rabbi of the Argentine Jewish community, of fraud and money laundering (later retracted); [vi] Pinto made “bizarre” claims that he had been extorted, [vii] and Pinto's wife, who doubled as the cash envelopes delivery person, attempted suicide... [viii]
The Pino story is also garnished by cameo appearances of an assortment of followers, including former US Congressman Anthony Weiner, Israeli gas tycoon Isaac Tshuva, LeBron James, as well as top Israeli politicians and business leaders as fellow travelers…. [ix,x]
Secretive, perverted criminal prosecution in the Tel-Aviv District Court
Earlier this week, Joseph Zernik, PhD, of Human Rights Alert (NGO) filed a Request to Inspect in the criminal prosecution court file of Rabbi Josiah Pinto. [xi] The filing followed the discovery of inexplicably false and missing records in the Tel-Aviv District Court's public access system, relative to Pinto's criminal prosecution. [xii] The perverted records must raise concerns regarding integrity of the prosecution, the Judge, and the Court.
The court file is listed as “Open to the Public” - it is not sealed.
Figure: On April 29, 2015, a total of seven (7) decisions were listed in the case, which by now should hold around 30 decisions. The decision records, which are posted in the public access system, include decisions on postponing hearing dates, changing defense counsel, and Defendant's access to evidence. Missing from the public access system are any hearing protocol, any decision pertaining to the evidence in this case, and any record of the conviction, reported by media to have taken place in a hearing on April 14, 2015. This court file and many others demonstrate that in the courts' new IT system, Net-HaMishpat, judges routinely maintain double-books for case dockets.
Only seven (7) decision records are listed in the online public access system, in a case that should by now hold at least a couple dozen decision records. The records, which are posted in the public access system, include decisions on postponing hearing dates, changing defense counsel, and Defendant's access to evidence. Missing from the public access system are the indictment record, any hearing protocols, and any decisions pertaining to the evidence in this case.
On April 14, 2015, media reported from a hearing in the Tel-Aviv Court that Judge Oded Mudrick convicted Rabbi Pinto on charges related to attempt to bribe senior Israel Police officer Ephraim Bracha. However, the verdict record is missing from the public access system of the Court... It fails to appear under the “Decisions” tab, and likewise fails to appear under the “Judgments” tab of Net-HaMishpat – IT system of the Israeli courts.
Figure: On April 29, 2015, the Court Calendar showed that the April 28, 2015 sentencing hearing, which was extensively reported by media, “Did not take place”. In other cases, it has been documented that the Court Calendar in Net-HaMishpat is unreliable, and judges may conduct “unofficial hearings”, while the public and parties are under the impression that they are witnessing a lawful, binding court hearing.
On April 28, 2015, media extensively reported of Pinto's sentencing hearing in the Tel-Aviv District Court. However, the hearing is listed as “Did not take place” in the Court Calendar of the Court's public access system. The case is the latest, where an Israeli court is documented conducting a simulated court hearing – one which the public is led to believe that a lawful, valid and effectual court hearing was conducted, while the judge considers it an “unofficial”, “off the record” hearing...
Both the court calendar and the dockets have been recognized for hundreds of years as the “Books of Court”. Such books are the fundamental instrument in the safeguard of integrity of the judges and the courts. Inspection of numerous court files in the Israeli courts, in the wake of implementing Net-HaMishpat – the new IT system – document the routine maintenance of double-books, and the entry of false, or vague and ambiguous data. Such findings are particularly blatant in court files that are related to various corruption scandals of recent years.
There is no doubt that a court, which is administered through an IT system, which permits the judges to maintain double-books, or to enter false, or vague and ambiguous data, would be deemed an incompetent court.
The Request to Inspect, filed today, is part of an ongoing academic study of IT systems of the Israeli courts and the administration of public access to court records. Public access to court records in Israel has undergone a revolution over the past decade. According to the new Regulations of the Courts – Inspection of Court Files, public access is permitted to all court decisions and judgment records, which are not lawfully sealed. As shown here, that is not the case .
The 2009 Judgment of the Supreme Court, following a 12 year long petition by the Civil Rights Association in Israel, declared public access to court records a fundamental principle of any democratic regime, and a “constitutional right” (in the US it is part of the First Amendment). The Judgment also described conditions, where public access to such records is purportedly granted on a routine basis online in Net-HaMishpat. The Judgment also repeated the Association's arguments that such access is required for the maintaining public trust in integrity of the judicial process.
Public access to court records, particularly in criminal prosecutions, is also a fundamental Human Right – part of the right for a fair, public hearing. Based on hundreds of years of experience, public access to court records is the most effective and indispensable way to safeguard the integrity of judges and attorneys.
Review of numerous cases in the Israeli courts shows that conditions in Israel today are far from what is described in the 2009 Judgment. Moreover, the posting of false, or unreliable records and data in IT systems of the courts void the right of public access to court records of any content.
The lack of integrity in the Israeli courts today is in part related to undermining the office of Chief Clerk of the court. The old Regulations of the Courts – Office of the Clerk, promulgated in 1936 (under the British Mandate), explicitly stated the duty of the Chief Clerks of the courts for the “excellent maintenance” of court records and court books (in the US, The Judiciary Act of 1789 requires that the Clerk of the Court take an oath of office to “truly and faithfully enter and record all the orders, decrees, judgments and proceedings...”). In contrast, the new regulations, promulgated in 2004, are missing such language. Moreover, in recent years, requests pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, unveiled that none of the individuals in the various courts, who go by the title of “Chief Clerk”, holds a lawful appointment record as “Chief Clerk”. A court, where the Chief Clerk holds no lawful appointment record, and is not bound by the duty for honest maintenance of the court's records and books, is surely an incompetent court.
In fact, Israeli judges today enter and list their own decisions and calendars in Net-HaMishpat in an arbitrary and capricious manner, with no oversight by the office of the Chief Clerk of the court. With it, judges have also been repeatedly caught falsifying and fabricating court records.
Denial of public access to court records in Israel is inherent to fraud in the entry and maintenance of honest court records, as shown in the Pinto prosecution and numerous other cases, particularly in cases pertaining to government corruption. A prime example is the criminal prosecution of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, which was conducted in the Tel-Aviv District Court as well. [xiii]
The Professional Staff Report of the UN Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in Israel (2013) states, “lack of integrity in the electronic record systems of the Supreme Court, the district courts and the detainees' courts in Israel”. An academic paper, which was accepted for publication, subject to international, anonymous peer-review in the European Conference on Electronic Government (ECEG 2015), says, “Fraudulent new IT systems in the Israeli courts – unannounced regime change?” [xiv]
Under conditions, which have been established in the Israeli courts over the past decade, the public has no way to ascertain what a person was indicted on, what a person was convicted of, what his sentence is, and whether a person is held in prison pursuant to lawfully executed judicial records. Such conditions are typical of tribunals of a military dictatorship, but are inconsistent with the courts of a civil society.
Prohibition of Publication Decree
The secretive, perverted process in the Tel-Aviv District Court goes hand in hand with an earlier Prohibition of Publication Decree in this case.
Figure: Closed doors, sealed, ex parte “Prohibition of Publication Decree”, granted by the Jerusalem Magistrate Court in December 2013 at the request of the Department for Police Investigations of the Israeli Ministry of Justice. The Decree gagged any publication regarding the embarrassing case of bribing of Israel Police top brass by Pinto, including any publication of existence of the Decree itself.
The Israeli courts also routinely issue publication prohibition decrees in cases that are embarrassing to government. That was also the case in the Pinto affair. Moreover, the publication prohibition decree in this case also prohibited the publication of the existence of the decree itself... [xv]
Relationship between the Israeli corrupt justice system and Israeli media is tangled. Israeli media in part expose corruption, but often stop short of exposing corruption of the courts. It is unlikely that Israeli top legal reporters, who covered the Pinto and the Olmert prosecutions never noticed the corrupt court records in this case.
Leaked letter by AG Loretta Lynch
Also this week, a February 19, 2015 letter by AG Loretta Lynch to Pinto's NYC attorneys was leaked by alternative media. [xvi]
Figure: February 19, 2015 letter by US AG Loretta Lynch to Rabbi Pinto's NYC attorney, confirming that Pinto reported to FBI funds transferred to Israel Police National Fraud Investigations Unit Head Ephraim Bracha. The Israeli justice system is locking arms in efforts to deny this part of the corruption scandal. Lynch's letter is seen as a reprisal for Israeli government and law enforcement efforts to undermine the corruption investigation against former US Congressman Michael Grimm.
The Lynch letter confirms that Pinto reported to FBI in 2011 and 2012 on funds he transferred to officer Bracha, long before the investigation in Israel on bribing senior Israel Police officers was launched. At that time, Pinto was investigated by FBI relative to illegal campaign financing of former US Congressman (R-NY) Michael Grimm. Grimm was later convicted and resigned from Congress.
Israeli justice and law enforcement agencies, including Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein (a personal appointment of Netanyahu, and reputed for covering up various government corruption scandals) and Israeli State Prosecution refuse to investigate Pinto's claims against Bracha. On the contrary, Bracha was the central witness in Pinto's criminal prosecution, claiming that Pinto tried to bribe him, which he refused...
The letter was sought by Pinto's attorneys as proof that Pinto transferred large sums to Bracha on several occasions in previous years, and that Pinto reported these transfers in FBI investigation. Pinto claims that the transfers were part of his charitable work for an officer in distress...
The letter was released by Pinto's attorney, claiming that although its copy was forwarded also to the Israeli State Prosecution, its existence has never been disclosed in the criminal prosecution and earlier media reports. Obviously, the letter undermines the credibility of Bracha, the central witness in Pinto's criminal prosecution, raises concerns of obstruction of justice by the State Prosecution, and calls into question Bracha's competence to continue serving as Head of the Israel Police National Fraud Investigations Unit.
Lynch's letter obviously pokes the Israeli justice system in the eye... It is largely seen as reprisal for the attempts by Israel Police and an unnamed former Israeli cabinet member to undermine the FBI investigation against US Congressman Michael Grimm, by pressuring Pinto at the time not to cooperate with FBI. [xvii]
Transcripts of Israel Police investigation of Pinto
In this weekend's magazine, Haaretz published information from leaked transcripts of Israel Police investigations, which confronted Pinto and Bracha. [xviii] Haaretz describes the explosion of the 20 year long close and loving relationship between Pinto and Bracha “criminal drama of the year”.
Pinto (yelling loudly): You are a liar, lie. I swear on the bible that I gave you $60,000.
Bracha (yelling loudly): Lie!
Pinto: Liar, fraudster, crook... I swear to God... I also took the polygraph.
Bracha: I am ready.
Pinto: Then go do it... You spilled my blood for a promotion.
According to Haaretz, the transcripts and memos indicate that Pinto had routine knowledge of the most confidential, high level investigations of the Israel Police, apparently derived from a number of sources. Pinto was also repeatedly involved in police investigations – relative to his claims of extortion against him, relative to explosive thrown at his home, and finally – relative to a large-scale fraud and tax evasion investigation against him. It was at that point that Bracha apparently tried to distance himself from Pinto, and eventually turned him in on an attempt to bribe him (reported only 8 days after the fact).
The recordings also reveal suggestions of Pinto's involvement in top level Israel Police appointments, which was also rumored in the past. Pinto, on his part, repeatedly expressed his ambitions to become Israeli Chief Rabbi. The final transfer of the bribes money (claimed to be $200,000), intended to resolve Pinto's fraud and tax-evasion investigation was transacted between the two wives, secretly recorded.
According to media reports, Pinto's attorneys warned the State authorities that the prosecution would unveil deeply embarrassing picture of the Israeli justice system. Indeed, the authorities ended up signing a plea bargain deal with Pinto, according to which the investigations were limited, the secretive indictment was limited in scope, and the maximum penalty for the serious crimes was set to one year imprisonment. The Movement for Quality Government in Israel petitioned the Supreme Court to void the plea bargain agreement, but the petition was denied. [xix]
Other high level corruption investigations, including that of Menashe Arbiv, Head of “the Israeli FBI” himself, of former IDF Chief of Staff Gabby Ashkenazy, [xx] and of senior former Netanyahu coalition partners [xxi] are left in unknown status. Complaints of evidence of Netanyahu's direct involvement in organized crime in the Tax Authority are clearly not going to be investigated. [xxii]
i 2014-04-28 U.S. congressman tied to Rabbi Pinto indicted on fraud charges
ii 2014-02-10 Head of Israeli police corruption unit quits over bribery affair
iii 2014-01-16 US Involvement in Rabbi Pinto Corruption Case Revealed_IsraelNews.com
iv 2014-01-19 Rabbi Pinto probe sparks tensions between FBI and Israel Police
Israeli police refuse to provide FBI information for its probe on N.Y. Congressman Michael Grimm.
v 2011-12-20 Rabbi’s Followers Blame Aide for Missing Millions_NYT
vi 2011-09-16 Money-laundering accusation against Rabbi Pinto dropped
vii 2014-02-21 Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto Ordered NYPD Detective to Arrest Aide's Rival: Lawsuit_Forward
viii 2012-10-15 Wife of famous Israeli Rabbi Pinto attempts suicide amid bribe probe_Haaretz
ix 2014-04-29 What do LeBron James, Anthony Weiner and Michael Grimm have in common? Meet the Rabbi to the Stars.
x 2011-12-20 Rabbi’s Followers Blame Aide for Missing Millions_NYT
xi 2015-04-29 State of Israel v Pinto (43357-09-14) in the Tel-Aviv District Court – Dr Zernik's Request (#25) to Inspect court file
xii 2015-04-29 State of Israel v Pinto (43357-09-14) in the Tel-Aviv District Court – online records, public access, remote terminal
xiii 2015-03-21 Holyland II: Where are Judge Rosen's Verdict and Sentence records of former PM Olmert corruption?_OpEdNews.com
xiv 2015-06-18 Zernik, J. “Fraudulent new IT Systems of the Israeli Courts - Unannounced Regime Change?”_ECEG 2015
xv 2014-01-10 FBI Accuses Israeli Police, Cabinet Minister of Sabotaging Congressional Corruption Investigation
xvi 2015-04-30 US Attorney General confirms that Rabbi Pinto reported to FBI funds transferred to Israel Police top officer Bracha_News1
xvii 2014-01-16 FBI probe uncovers suspected graft at Israel's top levels
xix 014-10-20 Supreme Court Deputy President Miriam Naor blasts state for letting the rabbi dictate how an investigation would proceed_Haaretz
2015-04-02 High Court upholds state's plea deal with rabbi who bribed ex-'Israeli FBI' chief_JPost
xx2014-09-19 The Harpaz document affair: IDF "Coup attempt", or a Shin-Bet sting operation?_OpEdNews.com
xxi2014-12-29 Yisrael Beiteinu: A chronicle of corruption
xxii 2014-11-09 Israeli Ombudsman refuses to accept whistle-blower complaint against PM Netanyahu - smuggling, murder of a "source"_OpEdNews.com