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Supermodel Bar Refaeli said set to avoid prison under plea bargain

Celebrity faces accusations she hid millions in income from Israeli tax authorities; deal with prosecutors will reportedly be signed in coming days

Model Bar Refaeli poses for photographers upon arrival at the Dior ready to wear Fall-Winter 2019-2020 collection, that was presented in Paris, February 26, 2019. (Thibault Camus/AP)
Model Bar Refaeli poses for photographers upon arrival at the Dior ready to wear Fall-Winter 2019-2020 collection, that was presented in Paris, February 26, 2019. (Thibault Camus/AP)

Supermodel Bar Refaeli has finalized a plea bargain with prosecutors that would see her avoid imprisonment over alleged tax evasion, according to a television report on Monday.

The agreement will be signed in the coming days, Channel 12 reported, without citing a source.

Prosecutors allege that Refaeli, 34, and her mother hid tens of millions of shekels in earnings from tax authorities.

The network reported last month the agreement could see Refaeli’s mother, Tzipi, serve time behind bars instead of the supermodel.

During talks with prosecutors, it was suggested that Tzipi Refaeli would admit to masterminding the tax and financial offenses and serve a six-month term in prison, preventing her daughter from being incarcerated, Channel 12 said at the time. Bar Refaeli would do community service instead.

Tzipi is also facing related charges, pending a hearing, of money laundering and additional tax-dodging offenses.

According to the report, the family must also pay between 10 and 15 million shekels ($3-4.4 million) to the state, of which eight million ($2.3 million) have already been paid.

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 earnings during that period.

In July, she appealed to the High Court of Justice against a lower court decision that ordered her to pay taxes on NIS 8 million ($2.3 million) for earnings abroad in the years 2009-2010. She had argued that her past relationship with Hollywood movie star Leonardo DiCaprio was tight enough to be considered a family unit — making her home base in the US rather than Israel.

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