Former Olmert Aide Given Four Months Community Service in Corruption Case

Shula Zaken was found guilty of fraud and breach of trust for influencing promotions within Israel's Tax Authority.

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Wednesday sentenced Ehud Olmert's former bureau chief Shula Zaken to four months community service for fraud and breach of trust in a wide-ranging corruption case.

Shula Zaken, who managed Ehud Olmert's bureau when he was finance minister and prime minister, was found guilty in February of exploiting her connections with Olmert, while he was minister, to arrange for associates to be appointed to senior positions at the Tax Authority. Zaken denied the allegations, but the judge did not find the denials credible.

Transcripts from police interrogations in the case indicate that Zaken, her brother Yoram Karshi and businessman Kobi Ben-Gur worked hand in hand to help Jacky Matza be appointed chairman of the Tax Authority - allegedly in return for helping businessman Simo Tobol extricate himself from an investigation, due to suspicions that he committed major tax evasion.

Zaken was also accused of using her influence with Matza - once he was appointed - to make other staff appointments at the authority that her brother was said to have favored. Zaken claimed to know nothing of her brother's activities.
In his ruling, Judge Li-Ran said Zaken had acted out of highly improper motives and in effect had "turned the keys to the finance minister's office over to her brother."

Zaken still faces charges in the Holyland affair concerning alleged corruption relating to the construction of a massive residential project in Jerusalem, in which Zaken and Olmert are among a large group of defendants.

Shula Zaken.
Michal Fattal