Police enlisted an operative who recorded and photographed Rabbi Yona Metzger sabotaging investigations, coordinating alibis, and even incriminating himself, Ynet learned Tuesday.
On Monday, Rabbi Metzger's remand was extended. The team leader at the National Fraud Unit, superintendant Assaf Wolfish, presented only part of the evidence to the judge. Videos and tapes which will establish wrongdoing have yet to be released by the police.
The rabbi is suspected of bribery, fraud, breach of trust, money laundering, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. The tax authority and the Jerusalem District Prosecutor Office suspect that the sums tied to these offenses may total in several million shekels.
From police testimony and evidence, it appears that the rabbi operated an orderly scheme through which he would fundraise for charity organizations, and then take a cut for his personal accounts. In certain cases, it is alleged, he took part in official State functions in his role as Chief Rabbi and fundraised for aid organizations, but also received an honorarium for making an appearance.
Investigators are focused on an official visit to Poland, where he allegedly raised and received funds for non-profit organizations under his control.
Cash stash, holy books
The arrest of Rabbi Metzger is the outcome of a development in the investigation which was revealed last June. Metzger was aware that the police were on the trail, but never imagined he was under close observation and monitoring.
National Fraud Unit detectives are still following the Metzger money trail. Since his arrest Monday morning, hundreds of thousands of shekels – in cash – were discovered among holy books, hundreds of thousands of shekels found with a family in the north connected to the rabbi, and NIS 200,000 in a private safe.
The current affair shadowing Rabbi Metzger began five months ago. He was suspected of bribery and breach of trust, and after an investigation was released conditionally. The investigation included other suspects.