Ex-Israeli chief rabbi Yona Metzger indicted for corruption

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yona Metzger, a former Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, was indicted for corruption.

In the indictment filed Tuesday by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office, Metzger was charged with fraud, theft, conspiracy, breach of trust, money laundering, tax offenses and accepting bribes.

The indictment followed a hearing in which Metzger’s attorney argued against the charges. It had been announced originally in February.

Metzger is accused of accepting nearly $2.6 million in bribes — keeping nearly $2 million for himself while paying the rest to accomplices and charitable organizations.

Chaim Eisenstadt, Metzger’s driver, received the bribes, according to the indictment.

Metzger is accused of profiting from donations directed to charitable causes and of taking bribes to sway his opinion on matters he decided as chief rabbi.

He completed his 10-year term as chief rabbi in July 2013. Metzger was arrested and questioned a month before his term ended and released.

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