Jackie Matza, the first of the suspects in the Tax Authority affair to have been convicted, was sentenced on Sunday to one year in jail and another year suspended for his role in the takeover of the government body by two private businessmen who used him to promote candidates to top jobs for their own interests.
Matza and the prosecution reached a plea bargain on January 9. In return for pleading guilty to the amended indictment, the state dropped the key charge of having accepted a bribe and also reduced the number of counts of fraud and breach of faith.
Central District Court Judge Zecharya Caspi wrote that even after taking into account the arguments for treating Matza leniently, "I cannot let the defendant off with a jail sentence that can be carried out by public service. My heart goes out to the defendant but, regretfully, I cannot act only according to the leanings of my heart. The gravity of his deeds and the extent of the harm that they caused the organization which he led, and the public service in general, overcome the considerations for leniency and the personal circumstances, even if we grant them the greatest weight."