jackie matza 311.
(photo credit: courtesy)
Former Tax Authority director Jackie Matza, the first of the suspects in the Tax
Authority corruption affair to be convicted, was sentenced Sunday to a year in
jail and another year’s suspended sentence 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.
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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.
District Court Judge Zecharia 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
“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.”
Caspi provided three examples in the
amended indictment against Matza that justified the crimes for which he was
convicted, that is, fraud and breach of faith and being an accessory to a
In one of these cases, Yaakov Ben-Gur, one of the private
businessmen who was allegedly instrumental in obtaining the top position in the
Tax Authority for Matza, wanted Matza to arrange for the nephew of Avraham
Natan, a former civil service commissioner, to win a tender for a position in
the investigation department of the authority’s Tel Aviv branch.
told Ben-Gur that Shmuel Bobrov, an aide, would see to it that the nephew, Amos
Shimonov, got the job.
When Ben-Gur heard that the matter had not been
arranged, he telephoned Matza at a restaurant and sharply rebuked him, in front
of Bobrov, for not carrying out his orders.
In this case, wrote Caspi,
“the defendant’s conduct is characterized by having broken all the norms of
proper conduct and deviation from his duty to be faithful to the public. He
abandoned his duty to instill confidence in the public to such a degree that he
caused it harm.”
On the other hand, Caspi wrote that he had taken into
consideration that Matza had resigned his post immediately and cooperated with
the investigation from the beginning, that he had not been able to find steady
work in the four years that had elapsed since the affair became public and that
the media treated him harshly throughout the police investigation.