JERUSALEM (VINnews) – Rabbi Eliezer Berland, the leader of the Shuvu Banim Breslov community, was arrested early Sunday morning in a police raid at his home on suspicion of fraudulent receipt and tax offenses. His wife and other senior members of the community were detained for questioning.
During the course of the arrests, violent clashes broke out between Rabbi Berland’s followers and police. Two policemen were said to be lightly injured.
Over the last few months, police conducted a covert investigation into alleged claims of exploitation by Rabbi Berland’s followers of hundreds of fatally ill patients and their families by demanding tens of thousands of shekels in exchanges for blessings of healing. Police gathered evidence and testimony against a number of 18 to 20-year-old Jerusalem suspects who are suspected to have been involved in fraudulent receipt of monies.
Investigators claim that they also managed to uncover evidence of a variety of alleged money laundering offenses, including tax evasion involving millions of shekels. The money was purportedly laundered using dozens of bank accounts.