Above: Ephraim Bracha
Top Cop From Bribery Case Against Sefardi Haredi Kabbalist Commits Suicide, Cops Say
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Israel Police announced the suicide of a key figure in the bribery and corruption case against Sefardi haredi kabbalist Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Ephraim Bracha, the top cop in the Israel Police National Fraud Investigation Unit (the rough equivalent of the FBI), was 55-years-old and a 30—year veteran of Israel Police. He was found Sunday morning in his car in Modi'in, where he lived, shot dead, allegedly by his own hand.
Pinto tried to bribe Bracha with $200,000 to get information from him about a criminal investigation into the Hazon Yeshaya nonprofit Pinto controlled. Hazon Yeshaya’s top managers allegedly stole millions of dollars in food donations earmarked for elderly Holocaust survivors. But instead of feeding these elderly poor people, Hazon Yeshaya’s top staff allegedly sold the food on the black market and pocketed the cash, some of which allegedly ended up in Pinto’s pockets.
Bracha reported Pinto’s attempted bribe to his superiors and then wore a wire that caught the actual bribe on tape.
Pinto – who is extremely close to leading politicians and businesspeople in Israel and New York City – was known to police for his closely connection to top Israeli organized crime figures, and police detectives wanted him formally investigated and prosecuted for laundering money for the Israeli Mob as far back as 2005. But Bracha allegedly stopped that from happening, allegedly because he was ordered to do by even more senior cops.
Ha'aretz reported tonight that in November 2012, an argument erupted between Bracha and Pinto in an interrogation room at the fraud investigation unit's headquarters.
A transcript of the alleged argument was obtained by Haaretz. In part it reads:
"I swear on the Torah that I gave you $60,000," said Pinto.
Bracha responded, "That's a lie. You're a liar, a cheat and a con man."
"I swear you took the money. Swear on your children," Pinto said – admitting to bribing Bracha.
Bracha yelled in response, "We're both going to do a polygraph, if …you [gave me] even one shekel, one shekel, I'll put my own head in the noose, commit suicide."
Police blamed the media for Bracha's death.
“You killed him with the reports and the leaks from Rabbi Pinto. Words kill,” an unnamed police officer reportedly told Wall! News.
Despite this, many people will likely question Bracha’s suicide and will instead believe he was killed as payback for Pinto’s conviction.
Israel Police reportedly expressed their condolences to Bracha’s wife and the couples four children.