Bar Refaeli could face legal trouble over allegedly not paying millions of dollars in taxes

By Maria Pasquini
January 03, 2019 05:58 PM
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Credit: Pablo Cuadra/WireImage

Bar Refaeli may be facing legal trouble for allegedly not paying millions in taxes.

The supermodel, 33, has been suspected of not declaring 23 million shekels (about $6.1 million) to the Israeli government over the course of 2009 to 2012, according to a report from international news agency Agence France-Presse.

On Thursday, Israel’s State Attorney’s Office reportedly informed Refaeli that she will be facing an indictment on charges of tax fraud.

Refaeli has reportedly been told that pending the results of a hearing, she could be charged with tax evasion, money laundering, and perjury, according to the AFP. The supermodel is also suspected of living in luxury apartments registered in her family’s name.

The AFP also reported that her parents, Tzipi and Rafi Refaeli, are suspected of money laundering and will also be present for the hearing.

Refaeli’s attorney, Moshe Mizrahi, told Ynet (via The Jerusalem Post ) on Thursday that the tax authorities are disregarding a deal she signed in 2009 and the case has “been blown out of proportions… all of the agreements were on the table, she hasn’t hidden anything.”

A representative for Refaeli did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Bar Refaeli
| Credit: Pablo Cuadra/WireImage

According to a statement from the State Attorney on Thursday, from 2009-2012, Refaeli told tax officials in Israel that she was a resident of the United States, and told officials in the U.S. that she was a resident of Israel.

At the time, Refaeli was dating Leonardo DiCaprio, and claimed to be living with him, The Jerusalem Post reported, adding that officials believed she was actually staying in Tel Aviv at an apartment owned by her family.

Authorities believe that both the supermodel and her mother lied about the supermodel residing abroad in order to pay less taxes, according to the AFP.

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Refaeli’s tax evasion investigation was first opened in 2015.

At the time, tax officials in Israel claimed the Sports Illustrated model failed to report “celebrity benefits” including free luxury cars and didn’t pay taxes on her Tel Aviv apartment, according to NBC News.

However, Refaeli’s lawyers told NBC that the investigation is the result of a lengthy dispute with Israeli authorities over whether Refaeli should be considered an Israel resident for tax purposes.

“There is no drama. In the end, this is just a civil dispute,” Giora Aderet said at the time, according to the BBC. “No one cheated anyone else. It will all clear up soon.”