Tax Authority probe focuses on alleged bribe-givers

Several men are suspected of giving bribes to head of the Tax Authority’s National Investigations and Field Intelligence Branch David Vanunu.

David Vanunu 311 (photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)
David Vanunu 311
(photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)
A number of men suspected of giving bribes to David Vanunu, head of the Tax Authority’s National Investigations and Field Intelligence Branch, were questioned throughout the day on Thursday, at the National Fraud Unit’s Lod headquarters, a source close to the investigation told The Jerusalem Post.
The suspects were allowed to return to their homes after questioning.
Vanunu is suspected of receiving bribes over several years in exchange for making tax problems “go away.”
Also on Thursday, police refused to confirm or deny reports that a state’s witness had led police to the alleged bribery.
Israel Radio disputed Channel 2 News’s claim that businessman and land developer Shmuel Dachner has acted as a state’s witness in the investigation, but said that the the testimony of another state’s witness was being used by police.
“We won’t go into that,” a police source said.
Meanwhile, the Tax Authority’s head, Yehuda Nasradishi, went on a rare media offensive on Thursday in an effort to clear his organization’s name.
He told Israel Radio that the Tax Authority was made up of thousands of dedicated and honest employees, and that there was no widespread corruption in the organization.
Describing Vanunu as a low-level investigator, Nasradishi said that even if he is found to have acted illegally, it would not mean that the whole organization should be viewed as corrupt.
Nasradishi described media coverage of the Tax Authority as an “injustice,” and rejected attempts to link the current investigation to a previous corruption affair that resulted in a one-year prison sentence for former Tax Authority head Jackie Matza Matza, who pleaded guilty to five counts of breach of trust and one count of assisting a bribe in the appointments affair at the Authority.

The Israel Police released a statement on Thursday stressing that the current investigation was “pinpoint,” and should in no way be used to cast doubt “over a whole organization.”
The statement added that the Tax Authority “cooperates fully” with police on many sensitive investigations involving organized crime, economic crime and public corruption, and that the two organizations enjoy a relationship based on “mutual trust.”