Sports Illustrated cover model Bar Refaeli, and ex-girlfriend of Leonardo DiCaprio, is being investigated by the Israeli government for tax evasion. The New York Post reports that she was arrested and released on bail today, forced to hand over her passport and not leave the country for 180 days. According to BBC, she was questioned for several hours at the tax evasion office in Tel Aviv. Tax authorities also confirmed that her mother, ‘70s model Tzipi Levine, was being investigated.
The allegations state that Refaeli was avoiding tax payments in Israel by pretending not to be a resident of the country. (Israeli citizens who do not live in Israel are exempted from income tax.) For example, she was living in apartments under her mother and brother’s names. Refaeli is also being investigated for not declaring discounts on her luxury goods, such as free use of Range Rover and Lexus vehicles in return for publicity. The BBC reports that she was hiding million of dollars of income from the Israeli government due to her official status as a citizen abroad. “There is no drama. In the end, this is just a civil dispute. No one cheated anyone else. It will all clear up soon,” Giora Aderet, Refaeli’s lawyer, told NRG.
According to Forbes Israel, Refaeli was the highest paid Israeli model in 2013, earning more than $2 million in 12 months. In September 2015, she married Israeli businessman Adi Ezra, currently the chairman of the Neto Group, one of the five biggest food conglomerates in Israel. According to BBC, he is a billionaire. Her engagement ring was designed by Lorraine Schwartz with an estimated 5-carat diamond, according to Israeli newspaper Maariv.
This isn’t the first time Refaeli has been in conflict with the Israeli government — she evaded mandatory military service by marrying and divorcing a family acquaintance, Arik Weinstein, in 2003. “Israel or Uganda, what difference does it make? It makes no difference to me. Why is it good to die for our country?” Refaeli told Ynet in October 2007. “What, isn’t it better to live in New York? Why should 18-year-old kids have to die? It’s dumb that people have to die so that I can live in Israel.”