A top policeman who took his own life on Sunday had in the past declared he would commit suicide if it was shown that he had taken a bribe from a popular rabbi who was later convicted on bribery charges.
Deputy Commissioner Ephraim Bracha shot himself in his car early in the morning and paramedics who arrived at the scene were unable to save his life.
In 2012, when Pinto was under police investigation over financial irregularities at the Hayim Yoshiyahu charity fund with which he was associated, Bracha reported that the rabbi offered him $200,000, allegedly in the hope of gaining information about the case.
Pinto initially told police that he had not offered Bracha any money, but later reversed his story, claiming he had paid Bracha or his family members on more than one occasion.
Bracha reported the incident, leading to a face-off between the two men, who were close acquaintances for many years, in an interrogation room.
A recording of the conversation revealed a heated exchange.
“I swear you took money… Swear on your children! [that you didn’t]” Pinto challenged Bracha.
“We both should do a polygraph,” Bracha replied. “On the money that you gave me, if you gave men even a shekel — I say [even a] shekel, yes? I’ll put my head under the gallows and take it off, commit suicide.”
“Go and do it!” retorted Pinto.
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Bracha shot back.
A week ago, Channel 10 reported that the Police Internal Investigations Department was looking into claims that Bracha had given information about other cases to suspects. The department said that after looking into the matter it would decide whether to open an investigation against him.
In April, Pinto was sentenced to a year in prison as part of a plea bargain that saw him convicted of bribery, attempted bribery, and obstruction of justice.
Under the plea bargain, Pinto agreed to testify against Menashe Arviv, the former head of the police’s anti-corruption unit who is suspected of receiving benefits from businessmen associated with the rabbi. In exchange, Pinto, a kabbalist with a sizable and influential international following, was guaranteed a light jail sentence plus fines.