Mizrahi pop singer Kobi Peretz was released from prison Sunday, after serving nine months of 18-month sentence for tax evasion.
Peretz spent the weekend at home with his family, but returned to Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle Sunday morning to complete the necessary paperwork.
Peretz was convicted in May 2016 by the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court of tax evasion amounting to NIS 5.8 million ($1.5 million). He was indicted on tax fraud charges for hiding millions of shekels in income between 2005 and 2009, submitting false income information, and making threats against his agent, who turned state’s witness against him in 2012.
Throughout his trial, Peretz maintained his innocence, and claimed that his agent misled him.
Following an appeal, his two-year sentence was reduced to 18 months.
In May, President Reuven Rivlin cut his sentence by half, one of several special commutations he granted to prisoners on the occasion of Israel’s 70th anniversary year. Earlier in 2018, Rivlin and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced that as part of the framework of the national celebrations, the president would pardon or commute the sentences of a number of nonviolent prisoners who had shown remorse for their crimes.
Rivlin rejected Peretz’s first request for clemency last year, telling the singer that his office was not the place to hear legal appeals but rather to show “acts of charity” in “isolated and exceptional cases.”
According to reports in Hebrew-language media, Shaked convinced Rivlin to include Peretz among his Independence Day pardons.