Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, a sought-after spiritual adviser among prominent businesspeople in Israel and abroad, was questioned by police under caution on Thursday together, with his wife, on suspicion that they had tried to bribe a high-ranking police officer to divulge information on a case Pinto was being investigated in.
The two were also questioned about possible money laundering, Israel Radio reported Friday.
The police officer in question is not suspected of taking the alleged bribe. NRG reported on Friday that the policeman is the head of the police investigations division, Brig. Gen. Efraim Bracha, who is himself ordained as a rabbi. NRG reported that Pinto allegedly offered Bracha 200,000 shekels.
Pinto's attorney insisted Friday that his client had answered all the investigators' questions and handed over any information in his possession. "Rabbi Pinto wants to move the investigation forward to refute the suspicions against him, as they are baseless," the attorney said, adding that Pinto was convinced the investigation would reveal he had done nothing wrong.
Pinto and his wife were released on bail under restrictions.
Pinto divides his time between Israel and New York, where he advises a large community of Jewish businesspeople. The institutions he heads worldwide are believed to be worth millions of dollars.
Pinto made headlines earlier this year when donations made by members of his New York congregation to U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) became embroiled in another fraud scandal.
The case involved a former top aide to Pinto, businessman Ofer Biton, who helped raise money for Grimm during his 2010 campaign. Biton was arrested on immigration and fraud charges.
The arrest came amid an ongoing FBI probe of money donated to Grimm's campaign by Pinto's followers.