Olmert aide faces indictment as ITA investigation ends

PM's former secretary Shula Zaken among suspects after police probe allegations that Tax Authority appointments influenced by powerful businessmen.

Shula Zaken 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Shula Zaken 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Israel Police's probe into the Israel Tax Authority is likely drawing to a close in the coming week - and the final act of the saga is expected to be indictments ranging in the double digits against businessmen and ITA employees, as well as former secretary to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Shula Zaken. Channel 2 news reported Saturday night that the five-month-old investigation was on its way to the District Attorney's office and that indictments are already being prepared. At least ten people - including Zaken, former ITA head Eitan Rob, Zaken's brother Yoram Karshi, and fellow businessman Kobi Ben Gur are all among the most likely to be indicted. At least thirty suspects were arrested in the course of the massive probe, but it is doubtful that all of them will be indicted. Investigators believe that Zaken's brother, Karshi, worked to ensure that Matza would take over from Rob who left the top job in January 2005. The investigation was opened when police began to examine allegations that Tax Authority appointments - including that of Matza himself - had been influenced by powerful businessmen. Police suspect that after the appointments, the businessmen would then approach them for preferential treatment in tax assessments. Businessmen Ben Gur, Yoram Ela and Sima Toubul are all suspected of arranging the appointments of and establishing contact with members of the ITA, especially tax appraisers, in order to arrange reduced tax burdens. Police believe that Karshi - a member of the Jerusalem City Council and a judaica dealer - may have been one of the intermediaries and beneficiaries of the arrangements. Toubul, who owns two Jerusalem restaurants and deals in building materials, is suspected of using his contacts in the ITA to interfere with an ITA probe against him as well as apparently illegally lightening his tax load.