The Gilad couple were investigated in warning on suspicion of an increase in revenue accrued in a secret bank account in Switzerland worth NIS 2 million. The case against the former judge was closed and he retired in 2016. Against his wife, it was decided to be indicted pending a hearing. Later, the ransom committee met, which decided to close the case against her for ransom.
“This is a record that did not declare an expense abroad, and did not report any passive income (interest and linkage – GNP) in the amount unknown,” said the committee’s decision (June 21, 2016), which includes representatives from the tax authority and the Justice Ministry. “In light of the fact that this is a post-interrogation judge’s wife and subsequently ‘forced’ to resign,” explained the decision, “the commission raises a ransom of NIS 600,000. Following a conversation by Ron (wise, senior vice president of the tax authority) with Liat (Ben Ari, District Attorney’s Office) “A former taxation and economy),” the decision later states, “if the ransom is not paid, an indictment will be filed.”
The full committee’s arguments seem to stand in contradiction to the official reason published for public scrutiny of the ransom committee’s decision file. It states that the case against Aviva Gilad was closed with a ransom payment on the recommendation of the prosecutor’s office. As stated, it now becomes clear that the decision was also, in a puzzling way, the judge’s decision to retire following the investigation.
Aviva and Moshe Gilad were investigated in 2014 on suspicion of tax violations under the UBS case – suspected that dozens of Israelis were holding secret accounts at the branch in Switzerland, and did not report their income. The case began following the arrest of Ronnie Elias, an investment adviser at the Swiss bank who came to Israel, by investigators of the income tax official Haifa and the north. Elias was arrested at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv during a meeting he had scheduled with his clients.
Elias’s contact list contained hundreds of Israelis’ phone numbers hiding the account he was running for. One of them was Aviva Gilad. The judge and his wife, who served as a councilor in Acre, were questioned in a warning with the approval of the Attorney General.
Former Justice Gilad, who has been working as a tax lawyer since his retirement, denied in his investigation that he knew of the bill. His wife Aviva remained silent during the investigation, and did not admit the existence of the account. Income tax investigators slammed it, following information they received from Elias Investment Advisor, that it held at least half a million Swiss francs (about NIS 1.9 million) in UBS Switzerland’s secret account.
The ransom arrangement with the judge’s wife was criticized in the past by Tel Aviv Magistrate Judge Dana Amir. Judge Amir referred to the settlement after the prosecutor’s office first decided to reject another suspect’s case in the case, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University named Heda Ben Best, to also finalize the case against her in a ransom arrangement.
The indictment against Ben Best attributed to the professor a secret account management at UBS which had over NIS 4 million, with tax evasion of NIS 1.24 million. Her attorneys argued that the decision to indict her was selective enforcement, given that Gilad’s case was closed in a ransom arrangement. Judge Amir asked the prosecutor’s office to decide the ransom committee’s decisions in the UBS case to compare them.
Judge Amir did not like the prosecution’s explanations that the decision to dismiss Aviva Gilad as a heretic: “There is difficulty in my opinion that because of Mrs. Gilad’s lack of cooperation with the investigation, it was decided to suspend her a heretic without admitting or confirming the bank account or committing the offense and the amount.”
Eventually, the prosecution reached a plea bargain with Ben Best, in which she was convicted and sentenced to four months of service work and a fine of NIS 230,000.
The prosecutor’s office said: “The case regarding Mrs. Gilad was transferred to a ransom track after the evidentiary difficulties in her case were sharpened. It should be noted that the ransom that was incurred is a relatively high ransom.”
No comment was received from the tax authority and the lawyer of the Aviva and Moshe Gilad spouses, Amit Haddad.