jackie matza 311.
(photo credit: courtesy)
The first of the “Tax Authority Eight” who are standing trial on corruption
charges was convicted in the Central District Court on Sunday after reaching a
plea bargain with the state prosecution.
RELATED:Former tax authority chief reaches plea deal with state
The Tax Authority affair, if
substantiated, is one of the most serious cases of corruption in the public
sector in the history of the country.
According to the state’s account,
two private businessmen, who were representing clients whose fortunes were
significantly affected by the amount of taxes they paid, used their influence to
install Jackie Matza as the director of the authority and then used him to
appoint other senior officials who would be in their debt.
the plea bargain, which was revealed in court, the state agreed to drop from the
amended indictment the charge against Matza of accepting a bribe and to reduce
the number of charges of fraud and breach of faith from eight to five. Both the
original and amended indictments include one charge of being an accessory to
The Penal Code calls for a maximum punishment of seven years in
prison for accepting a bribe. A charge of fraud and breach of faith carries a
maximum sentence of three years in jail.
The parties did not reach an
agreement on the sentence to be handed down against Matza.
The court is
obliged to accept the amended indictment submitted by the state but is free to
determine the sentence within the constraints of the law.
the plea bargain, Matza confirmed that most of the allegations in the original
indictment, which still apply to the six other suspects being tried in the
Central District Court (suspect Shula Zaken is being tried in the Jerusalem
District Court) were true and therefore will likely be the prosecution’s key
witness in the trial.
The two businessmen who allegedly arranged Matza’s appointment were Ya’acov Ben-Gur and Yoram Karshi, the brother of Zaken, who
served as an adviser to thenfinance minister Ehud Olmert. Karshi arranged a
meeting between Matza and Zaken. When Matza was later appointed to the job, he
was certain that Ben-Gur, Karshi and Zaken had engineered it.
to the indictment, “Ben- Gur and Karshi extended help to Matza to advance his
appointment to director of the Tax Authority. Ben-Gur and Karshi did this in the
expectation that as director of the authority, Matza would act on their behalf
and provide them with influence [over decisions].
“Ben-Gur and Karshi
wanted influence primarily to appoint Tax Authority employees according to their
demands, expecting that these employees would do them favors. Matza accepted the
help of Ben-Gur and Karsh in the race for the post of director although he knew
that they had a business interest in the authority,” it read.