(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Former Israel Police Supt. Eran Malka was sentenced by the Jerusalem District Court to eight years in prison on Sunday on charges of bribery, money laundering, fraud, breach of trust and obstruction of justice.
At the sentencing, Judge Jacob Zavan said that as a senior member of Lahav 443, the police force’s central anti-corruption unit, Malka had been “entrusted with securing and strengthening the foundations of the pillars of the rule of law... but he did not secure or strengthen them; rather, he eroded them over and over again.”
“We are discussing a senior police officer who acted as part of a criminalized institution. He hurt the police in specific cases, as well as public confidence. He was supposed to strengthen the police and instead did the opposite,” Zavan wrote.
The sentence was a blow to Malka, who had hoped for no more than five years.
It was also somewhat surprising, as the maximum sentence is 10 years, and many had expected leniency since he became a central state’s witness. Ultimately, though, the prosecution’s argument that he had been a public servant and gatekeeper for the police appears to have been what swayed the court toward the more severe end of the spectrum.
His police pension will continue be paid out to his family to support them while he is in prison, and his assets will not be seized. He will be permitted to spend two weeks at home to say goodbye to members of his family, a deal that was included as part of his initial plea bargain.
Malka was convicted in June by the same Jerusalem District Court where he had turned state’s witness against an even higher police commander, former Asst.-Ch. Bruno Stein, as well as attorney Ronel Fisher. He was indicted on May 14 along with Fisher; former chief Tel Aviv state prosecutor Ruth David, who became Fisher’s partner after retiring from the state prosecution; businessman Yair Biton; and several others in one of the most wild bribery schemes ever uncovered here.
Malka was convicted of passing sensitive information to Fisher and David on behalf of some of their clients in his capacity as a top police investigator. The original 29-page indictment stated that much of this information involved investigations that he or Lahav 443 colleagues were conducting.
Malka was privy to some of the state’s most sensitive police intelligence information, whose exposure could severely harm the public interest. Some of it involved the dates and times of planned arrests, questions that would be asked during interrogations, and other classified information.
The indictment noted that Fisher, under the veil of his prominence in the legal community and through his many connections, had used the information to frustrate and obstruct ongoing investigations against clients.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.