Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto made a series of strange remarks about the suicide of former National Fraud Unit chief Brig. Gen. Ephraim Bracha last week, seemingly stating to his followers that he had further evidence surrounding the circumstances of Bracha's death.
Bracha's death was labeled a suicide despite several unclear circumstances surrounding the case – including that Bracha's cell phone is missing.
Pinto, who was once close to Bracha but then became the subject of a corruption scandal which the latter revealed via wiretapping, referred to Bracha as "a person who died" – and indicated he may have evidence surrounding the case.
Bracha had "great love" for Pinto's Shuvu Yisrael hassidic sect, Pinto said, as quoted by Walla! News, and claimed Bracha was "forced" to record their conversations for police.
Accusations against Bracha of being involved in Pinto's many corruption scandals hurt Pinto personally, he said, and added that Bracha did not think of any monetary transactions between them as "bribes."
Pinto said that he tried to vindicate Bracha on more than one occasion, but police only heard his testimony a week or two before his death.
"When that person died, they shouted, they killed him, vilified him, they told all kinds of stories and allegations," Pinto said. "They never heard our claim."
Pinto also addressed allegations that he may have, somehow, been involved in Bracha's death.
"All they say they checked and did not find [evidence] – they are lying," Pinto said. 'Everything that was said between us is in our hands. Once all will be revealed, they will be very ashamed."
Bracha, a Modi'in resident who was married with four children, was 55 when he was found dead in June. He was widely considered to be one of the most senior officials in the Israel Police.
His reputation was skewered after he was implicated in the Rabbi Pinto corruption case, even though he was cleared of all charges – and the case has been widely cited as a factor in his alleged suicide.
Pinto allegedly attempted to bribe Bracha with $200,000 for information about a pending police investigation into the Hazon Yeshaya charity organization, which Pinto was rumored to be closely involved with.
Bracha immediately reported the incident to his superiors, prompting a separate investigation against Rabbi Pinto himself. Though Bracha was cleared of all charges, his name was still tainted by the process.