Bar Refaeli barred from leaving Israel? Apparently, as Israeli authorities have forbidden both the 30-year-old supermodel and her mother, Tzipora, to leave the country. According to the Jewish Press, Israeli officials suspect Bar Refaeli of tax evasion.
It’s not a small sum of money, either. Apparently Refaeli and her mother failed to accurately report tens of millions of shekels, or millions in US dollars-worth of income earned outside of Israel. Not only that, but there are claims the model failed to declare other items she received as payment for modeling gigs.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 18, 2015
ABC News writes that Bar Refaeli did not report the free Range Rover or Lexus cars she was given by car companies in exchange for using her likeness as part of their advertising campaigns. There’s also the matter of a luxury apartment in Tel Aviv that Bar has yet to declare on her tax forms.
The Jewish Press goes into even greater detail, saying that Bar and her mom did not report “celebrity discounting,” vehicle usage, and various perks valued at around $250,000.
This information comes from what amounts to months of investigation on the part of the Israeli Tax Authority. The organization has long suspected that the supermodel wasn’t honest about her international earnings. This is important, because according to laws in Israel, a citizen must report not only domestic earnings but money made while living and working in other countries. There’s actually a similar law for American citizens.
As someone who is a native of Israel, Bar Refaeli would have to report not only what money she earned as a model in her native Israel, but all taxable income obtained wherever she worked around the world. To do otherwise is considered tax evasion.
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) December 17, 2015
Once the Israeli Tax Authority gathered the information it needed, the agency made its move. Both Bar and Tzipora Refaeli were apprehended on Wednesday, and Bar underwent nearly 12 hours of questioning about possible tax evasion. The women were eventually released, but only after coughing up hundreds of thousands in bail money. It was also made clear that neither Bar Refaeli nor her parent can leave the country; the duo are “grounded” for a period of up to 180 days.
A day after interrogating Refaeli, the Israeli Tax Authority presented its findings to a Magistrate’s Court in Tel Aviv. The agency claims that the model lied to officials about her residency. Bar’s lawyer disagreed, saying the tax issue stems from problems his client is having with being able to verify her residency. As mentioned earlier, Bar Refaeli is a native Israeli, and it’s assumed (certainly by officials in Israel) that she’s also a citizen.
However, Bar says that, despite her various trips to Israel, she currently considers herself an expatriate. For that reason, apparently, the model doesn’t feel obligated to report taxable income earned abroad.
The Jewish Press notes that the supermodel had various apartments “for her use” between 2009 and 2012. When asked about these residents by a tax assessor, Bar Refaeli reportedly said through a representative:
“It has already been previously reported that Bar has not rented residential apartments in Israel during the relevant years.”
Discrepancies like this are at the heart of the current issue, and they will likely be what determines whether or not Bar Refaeli will be forced to update her tax information and pay whatever income its felt she owes.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 18, 2015
Do you think Bar Refaeli is really an expatriate, or is she simply lying to avoid paying millions of tax dollars? Should someone who expatriates from a country continue to pay taxes? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!
[AP Photo/Dan Balilty, File]