Prosecutors are demanding that celebrity model Bar Refaeli pay back at least NIS 12 million (approximately $3.5 million) in unpaid taxes on earnings they say she concealed from authorities, Channel 13 television news reported Monday.
Prosecutors want Bar Refaeli to pay NIS 12-15 million ($3.46 million-$4.33 million) as part of any deal, the report said.
Refaeli and her mother are said to be in negotiations for a plea bargain aimed at preventing the model from spending time behind bars for allegedly hiding tens of millions of shekels in earnings from tax authorities.
Tzipi, Refaeli’s mother, is also facing related charges, pending a hearing, of money-laundering and tax-dodging offenses.
A senior legal source told Channel 13 the amount was “astronomical” in terms of tax offenses.
The Refaeli family is expected to balk at paying back such a large amount, but may be forced to in order to keep Bar out of prison.
On Sunday the station reported that talks between Refaeli’s legal team and prosecutors are in an advanced stage.
One suggestion raised during talks is that Tzipi Refaeli will admit to masterminding the tax and financial offenses and serve a six-month term in prison, preventing her daughter from being incarcerated, the report said.
Bar Refaeli would do community service instead. However, there are those in the prosecution who insist that the celebrity model also be sentenced to some time in prison, the report said.
Refaeli’s case has revolved around where she was required to pay tax during the years 2009-2012 based on the location of her home, in Israel or abroad. Authorities say that Refaeli lied in saying she lived mostly abroad, and failed to report the income, pricey gifts, and celebrity discounts she received during that time to Israeli tax authorities.
The model claims she knew nothing about efforts to conceal from tax authorities earnings during that period.
In July, she appealed to the High Court of Justice against a district court decision that ordered her to pay NIS 8 million ($2.3 million) for earnings abroad in the years 2009-2010 on which she had not paid tax.