Former top graft investigator convicted of failing to report bribery attempts

Retired deputy commissioner Menashe Arviv, one-time head of Lahav 433 anti-fraud unit, strikes plea bargain over corrupt ties to ex-con rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto

Menashe Arviv announces his retirement from the Israel Police, February 9, 2014 (screen capture: Channel 2)
Menashe Arviv announces his retirement from the Israel Police, February 9, 2014 (screen capture: Channel 2)

A former top police corruption investigator was convicted Thursday of failing to report an attempted bribe offered to him by a well-known rabbi.

Former police deputy commissioner Menashe Arviv, who once headed the national police force’s top corruption and fraud investigative body Lahav 433, was convicted of the relatively minor crime of “failure to carry out an official duty.”

The conviction comes as part of a plea bargain that saw fraud and breach of trust charges excised from the indictment.

Then-head of the police’s 433 Lahav anti-corruption unit Deputy Commissioner Menashe Arviv, left, pictured embracing Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto in an undated image. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Arviv failed to report close ties he maintained with Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto and at least two bribery attempts by Pinto while serving in a variety of senior positions in the police, including as deputy head of the Tel Aviv police, as Israel Police liaison to the United States and as head of Lahav 433.

Pinto himself served a year in prison after he was convicted of trying to bribe another top police corruption investigator, the former head of the National Unit for Fraud Investigations, assistant commissioner Ephraim Bracha. Bracha committed suicide after the case became public.

The investigation into Arviv began after Pinto confessed during questioning in the Bracha case to also attempting to bribe Arviv, who he had known since 2010.

Pinto’s information and his agreement to serve as a state’s witness in Arviv’s trial led to the reduction of his sentence to a single year.

The Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court accepted on Thursday the plea bargain struck between Arviv and the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department. The agreement does not specify Arviv’s sentence. Sentencing arguments are scheduled for September.

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