Middle East

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli suspected of tax evasion

Bar Refaeli at the Cannes Film Festival (13 May 2015) Image copyright AP
Image caption Bar Refaeli married the Israeli billionaire, Adi Ezra, in September

The Israeli supermodel, Bar Refaeli, is being investigated for suspected tax evasion in Israel.

Ms Refaeli is accused of failing to report millions of dollars in income earned abroad and tens of thousands of dollars in "celebrity benefits".

On Thursday, a court agreed to release her on $193,000 (£129,000) bail.

Ms Refaeli, who denies committing any offence, must also seek the permission of the authorities if she wishes to leave Israel and pay a $64,000 bond.

The 30-year-old has hosted Israeli X Factor and modelled for brands including Gap, Desigual and Escada.

She married the Israeli billionaire, Adi Ezra, in September. She had previously dated Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

'No drama'

Ms Refaeli spent several hours being questioned at the Tel Aviv offices of the Israel Tax Authority on Wednesday, according to Israeli media reports.

On Thursday, an official gag order was lifted and the tax authority confirmed that she and her mother, Tzipi, were being investigated.

It alleged the supermodel tried to hide the fact that she was a resident of Israel by living in apartments in Tel Aviv registered in her mother and brother's names.

Israelis who are not residents are exempted from declaring income earned abroad.

The tax authority also accused Bar Refaeli of failing to report discounts on luxury goods and other benefits that should have been subject to income tax. These included free use of Range Rover and Lexus cars not registered in her name that were provided by companies in exchange for publicity photographs, it said.

Ms Refaeli's lawyer rejected the allegations.

"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 told the NRG news website.

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