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Israeli model Bar Refaeli signs plea bargain for tax evasion

In this Feb. 26, 2019 file photo, Israeli

In this Feb. 26, 2019 file photo, Israeli top model Bar Refaeli poses for photographers at the Dior ready to wear Fall-Winter 2019-2020 collection, in Paris.  Credit: AP/Thibault Camus

Israeli top model Bar Refaeli signed a plea bargain agreement with authorities on Tuesday to settle a long-standing tax evasion case against her and her family.

The deal will require Refaeli to serve nine months of community service while her mother, Zipi, will be sent to prison for 16 months. The two are also ordered to pay a $1.5 million fine on top of millions of back taxes owed to the state.

The prolonged case, built around the celebrity model's worldwide income and the family's attempts to downplay her ties to the country, has sullied some of Refeali's previous image as a beloved national icon.

Still, she remains a popular TV personality and pitch-woman whose image is ubiquitous on highway billboards throughout the country. Last year, she hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.

The heart of the case revolves around Refaeli's residence earlier this decade when she gallivanted around the world in high-profile modeling campaigns, graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and had a lengthy romantic relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio.

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