Tax Authority trial delayed by one month

The opening of the trial against seven defendants in the Tax Authority affair was postponed on Thursday until September 30 to give the state time to obtain permission to withhold some of the investigation evidence from the defense. On July 9 the state prosecution filed an indictment against seven suspects involved in the case, including Jackie Mazza, former head of the Tax Authority; Yoram Karshi, brother of former prime minister Ehud Olmert's close aide, Shula Zaken, a businessman and former member of the Jerusalem Municipal Council; Ya'acov Ben-Gur, a private businessman and close friend of Karshi's; and four senior Tax Authority employees - Yigal Sa'ar, Shmuel Bobrov, Yosef Steinmetz and Gideon Bar-Zakai. They are all scheduled to be tried in the Central District Court in Petah Tikva. Zaken, the eighth suspect, was indicted separately and is due to be tried in Jerusalem District Court. Judge Zecharya Caspi agreed to the state's request to postpone the trial because it was still in the process of obtaining permission to withhold some of the evidence from the defense. Defense attorneys complained that the state should have obtained the permits before it filed the indictment against their clients. The state replied that it had been anxious to file the indictment immediately after the hearings that had been granted the suspects were heard and rejected. When the trial reconvenes on September 30, the first item of business will be for the defendants to register their pleas in response to the charges in the indictment.