Former Tax Authority head sentenced to year in jail

Matza faces sentence over fraud, breach of faith, and being an accessory to a bribe.

jackie matza 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
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.
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.
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Central 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 my heart.
“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 bribe.
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.
Matza 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.