Israeli top model Bar Refaeli sentenced in tax evasion case

Oded Balilty Israeli top model Bar Refaeli was sentenced to nine months of community service and a large fine for tax evasion

Supermodel Bar Rafaeli was sentenced to nine months of community service by an Israeli Court on Sunday.

Refaeli put on a beige t-shirt and a light blue surgical face mask and entered the Tel Aviv court.

Tax law in Israel determines residency based on where a person spends most of the calendar year and the model had initially claimed she didn't spend most of her time in her home country and so "did not have to declare her worldwide income in certain years".

In accordance with a plea deal approved by the court, both were ordered to pay a $1.5 million fine in addition to countless taxes owed to the nation. Her mother received 16 months of jail time for tax evasion.

Earlier, an Israeli court had ruled that Refaeli's relationship with DiCaprio did not qualify as a "family unit", and therefore she could not claim his United States residence as her own residence to avoid paying the full taxes she owed.

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Bar was assigned provisionally to perform community service, five days a week, at a centre near Tel Aviv for people with physical disabilities, while Tzipi will begin her prison term on 21 September.

The case covers a period when Refaeli was in a relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio and frequently travelling around the world for modelling campaigns.

Israeli taxation law determines residency mostly upon whether the individual spent almost all of their calendar year from the nation.

Bar's lawyer initially denied the claims against her and said the case would "clear up soon". In 2015, one of her legal representatives said: "There is no drama. It will all clear up soon". To avoid paying Israeli taxes, Refaeli also claimed that she lived overseas.

They argued that for 2009 and 2010, Bar Refaeli had been living in the US while dating DiCaprio and, therefore, did not have to pay Israeli income tax, but their argument was rejected by a judge in 2019 who agreed with authorities that she was actually based in Tel Aviv. In short, she became an accessory to her daughter's crime of evading tax payments. According to the indictment, she said she had signed a lease for her daughter in the name of another family member, obscuring Lefa Eli's real residency and not reporting her income as her daughter's agent. Again, she failed to record as income.

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