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Former Ashkenazi chief rabbi pleads guilty to corruption, faces jail

Yona Metzger takes plea bargain; was accused of accepting $2.6 million in bribes, profiting from charities

Former chief rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger at the Jerusalem District Court during his corruption trial on July 21, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Former chief rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger at the Jerusalem District Court during his corruption trial on July 21, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yona Metzger, a former Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, reportedly has reached a plea deal on corruption charges.

Under the agreement reached with state prosecutors, Metzger will plead guilty to some of the charges in exchange for a reduced prison sentence, according to reports Wednesday in the Israeli media.

The rabbi was charged in October 2015 with fraud, theft, conspiracy, breach of trust, money laundering, tax offenses and accepting bribes. He is accused of accepting nearly $2.6 million in bribes — keeping nearly $2 million for himself while paying the rest to accomplices and charitable organizations.

Metzger is accused of profiting from donations directed to charitable causes and taking bribes to sway his opinion on matters he decided as chief rabbi.

He completed his 10-year term as chief rabbi in July 2013. Metzger was arrested and questioned a month before his term ended and released.

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