Supermodel Bar Refaeli sentenced to 9 months of community service

Brenda Watkins
September 15, 2020

On Sunday, the 35-year-old supermodel graced the Tel Aviv courthouse wearing a beige t-shirt and light blue surgical mask to receive the final verdict to her tax evasion case. Her 65-year-old mother was due to begin her jail term on September 21. She was accompanied by her father, Raffi, and her mother, Zipi, with lawyers next to him.

The former Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model, now a popular TV personality in Israel, pleaded guilty to offences related to her worldwide earnings in a plea bargain that included her mother.

Bar and her mother were convicted in July of this year on offenses of evading paying taxes on income nearing $10 million.

According to the website, Bar and Zippi had in June negotiated a plea that required them to pay a $1.5 million fine, plus the taxes they owe.

The protracted circumstance, constructed round the actress model's global income and the household efforts to downplay her ties to Israel, ruined her well-crafted public picture as an informal ambassador to the nation.

The model though still remains a popular face on TV in the country with her faces dominating billboards across the country. Last year, she hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.

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At the time the case was opened, it was reported authorities were investigating claims Bar hid the fact she was an Israeli resident and had allegedly failed to report millions of dollars in income and gifts. Refaeli insisted that he didn't, so he didn't have to declare income for a certain period of time.

Prosecutors refused her promise and charged her by supplying incorrect tax info.

Refaeli's lawyers said the plea bargain proved she had not intentionally evaded paying taxes.

Refaeli's attorneys argued that she did not have to pay Israeli taxes on her income between 2009 and 2012 because she was living overseas in the U.S., and that DiCaprio's home was her residence.

In a previous appeal, an Israeli court ruled that her relationship with Refaeli and DiCaprio did not fall under the "family unit", so she could not claim her United States residence in order not to pay the full tax owed. The indictment said she signed leases for her daughter under the names of other family members to blur Refaeli's actual residency status and refrained from declaring her own income as her daughter's agent.

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