The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday sentenced to eight years in prison a disgraced former police officer who was convicted of leaking sensitive information in exchange for cash in a corruption scandal that rocked Israel’s law enforcement establishment.
Eran Malka, who held the rank of superintendent, was given an additional two years of probation.
“The defendant damaged the work of the police in specific cases, its image, and the public trust [in the force],” Judge Yaakov Saban said.
Once a top member of the elite Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit, Malka was convicted in June after signing a plea bargain in which he admitted to systematically leaking sensitive information about police investigations to attorney Ronel Fisher, who then used the information to obtain clients and solicit bribes, which Fisher and Malka would share.
“The defendant, a senior police officer, in a senior and sensitive position, carried out a series of crimes for a long time as part of a criminal plan in which he took advantage of his position and received repeated bribes,” Saban said.
As part of a plea bargain, Malka was granted a two-week reprieve before beginning his sentence. Saban noted that because the defendant had also helped police with the investigation, he was not fined and his police pension was not revoked.
The case is one of the most severe in a long line of scandals to hit the Israel Police in recent years.
During a court appearance last week, Malka asked the judge to give him far less than the 10 years in prison sought by prosecutors, insisting he was “not a criminal” and did not “exhibit criminal behaviors.” His attorneys asked for two to five years in prison.
Fisher was the target of a year-long investigation into a number of charges, mostly dealing with his facilitating the transfer of sensitive legal documents between police and criminal suspects. He was arrested in June 2014 for allegedly selling confidential information to the Ashdod Port union leader Alon Hassan about a corruption case against the port.
He also allegedly acted as a bribe middleman, transferring suitcases of cash from his clients to police so that investigations could be dropped.
Fisher is also on trial at the Jerusalem District Court.