An Israeli court sentenced top model Bar Refaeli on Sunday to nine months of community service and sentenced her mother to sixteen months in prison, for tax evation on earnings from her international career.
The court found Bar Refaeli guilty of four counts of tax offenses and her mother, fellow model Tzipi Levine, admitted to evading taxes on income worth close to $10 million.
Tzipi Levine also admitted helping the 35-year-old actress blur her actual residency status, and failed to declare her own income as her daughter’s agent.
Security for their court appearance on Sunday was tight, with barricades in the lobby marking a path to an elevator that took them to the courtroom.
Defense attorneys had argued that Bar Refaeli, a paparazzi favorite during a romantic relationship with Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, did not have to declare worldwide income to Israeli tax authorities from 2009-2012.
Refaeli, now 35 and a mother of three and married to an Israeli businessman, had contended she was living overseas at the time and exempt from any Israeli tax bills.
But prosecutors said she had been living in luxury homes in Israel leased by her mother and other relatives to hide her residency status.
A Courts Administration statement said Bar Refaeli was assigned provisionally to perform community service, five days a week, at a center near Tel Aviv for people with physical disabilities. Her 65-year-old mother was due to begin her jail term on September 21.
They were fined NIS 2.5m. ($722,460) each, in addition to taxes owed. They would likely end up paying authorities about NIS 25m. ($7.2m.), including interest charges, according to reports.
The mother-daughter duo’s court appearance ends a years-long, high-profile legal battle that destroyed the model’s reputation as an informal ambassador for Israel.
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