Bar Refaeli, condemned to pay four million for tax evasion


The supermodel alleges that it generated the income claimed when she lived with Leonardo DiCaprio in the US. Within a month she will present Eurovision in Tel Aviv.

Not even the most glamorous stars are spared the scrutiny of the Treasury in the Jewish state. The Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, 33, has been sentenced for tax evasion to pay 16 million shekels (four million euros) for undeclared income between 2009 and 2010. The ruling of the court was announced on Monday, when it barely remains a month for Refaeli to present the Eurovision festival in Tel Aviv along with other celebrities from Israel.
A court in Lod (a city in the metropolitan area of ​​Tel Aviv) has rejected the appeal lodged by the popular mannequin and actress against the payment request of the Israel Tax Authority. Bar Refaeli had assured that at the time of the investigation he had set his fiscal residence in the United States, where he shared a house with his then partner, the California actor Leonardo DiCaprio. In his defense, he presented a letter from George DiCaprio, father of his ex-boyfriend, who ratified his allegations, as well as numerous photos with the Oscar winner for the best male lead in 2015.

The Israeli tax inspectors distrusted the coated paper tests and tracked the money, according to the story of the Hebrew economic daily Globes. The US tax authorities considered Refaeli as “non-resident”, and his records do not include any property of real estate or vehicles in his name, nor a tax domicile in the country. In all the documents handled at that time, Refaeli never recorded DiCaprio’s apartment as a place of residence.

The Treasury of the Hebrew State concludes that between 2009 and 2010 the supermodel lived most of the year in two floors of Tel Aviv rented in the name of her mother and her brother, so that she did not officially appear as a resident. During that same period, he created companies and opened bank accounts abroad to hide from the Israeli authorities his income for image rights, such as those contracted with the luxury car companies Lexus and Range Rover.

Bar Refaeli’s lawyers, who deny all the accusations and insist that she resided abroad and, consequently, were not obliged to declare their income in Israel, have announced that they will appeal the judgment of Lod civil court to the Supreme Court. . The Israeli prosecutor’s office, meanwhile, is instructing criminal proceedings for tax offenses against Refaeli and several of his relatives, whom he accuses of laundering money amounting to tens of millions of shekels. The suspects have already received notification of the opening of the case, but the Public Ministry has not yet signaled the hearing to the parties prior to the imputation.

Refaeli, 33, married to Israeli businessman Adi Ezra and mother of two daughters, has always defended his innocence. It is not the first time that it faces this type of accusations. Between the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, she was questioned twice by the tax authorities in relation to another alleged crime of tax evasion. At that time, she was accused of having hidden discounts on luxury goods and gifts she received and that she had to declare to the Treasury. Among them was the private use of an apartment in a luxurious Tel Aviv building that she promoted with her image. He was then released on bail of 60,000 euros.

The media supermodel, protagonist of numerous advertising campaigns of international firms, was appointed in January as main presenter of the Eurovision festival to be held in Tel Aviv on May 18. Always in need of improving an external image often tarnished by the Palestinian conflict, Israel opted to offer its most amiable and seductive face thanks to the presence of a global celebrity on the stage of the Tel Aviv Exhibition Center.

According to the Hebrew press, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) withdrew its objections to Refaeli presenting the festival after receiving assurances that the prosecution for fiscal offense was not going to spoil the festival of the final phase of the contest, especially in the case that coincided with the galas scheduled between May 14 and 18 before a global audience of more than 200 million viewers.

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