Israeli state prosecutor: There were no election campaigns when PM received cash envelopes

As this damaging revelation emerged in the High Court Monday, May 19, prime minister Ehud Olmert’s office announced he would undergo a routine hospital test that night to monitor his prostrate cancer, which was disclosed last October as not life-threatening. The prime minister, 62, decided to postpone surgery at that time.
Police have been waiting three days for Olmert to find an hour to be questioned again.
The High Court’s three-judge panel heard a petition submitted by his lawyers against the Jerusalem District Court’s decision to hear pre-trial testimony from the Long Island financier Morris Talansky regarding the money he gave Olmert in previous years. The prime minister’s attorneys argued that this preliminary testimony given in open court would prejudice his right to a fair trial. It would have the effect of putting the prime minister in the dock and force the prosecution to put him on trial.
The State Prosecutor Moshe Lador said preliminary testimony must be taken from Talansky without delay because he refuses to stay in Israel after May 26 and may not return.
The prime minister has claimed that donations he received were campaign funds. Lador told the court that they were handed over at times when he was not running for election. They were passed to him “in cash, in dollars, in envelopes,” on his visits to the US and at home through his office manager, Shula Zaken.
The suspicions against him of accepting illicit moneys refer to the periods when he served as trade and industry in the Sharon government and earlier, during his two terms as mayor of Jerusalem and before that as health minister. He is being investigated for disposing of donations for purposes other than stated.
Lador said the prime minister has not disclosed how the money was used and Zaken has maintained her right to refuse to answer police questions.
The court agreed to hand down its decision without delay.
Opposition leader Likud’s Binyamin Netanyahu called for new elections. Olmert’s Kadima must return its mandate to the people.
debkafile adds: Hanging over the Knesset summer session which began Monday are several no-confidence motions and demands for the prime minister to be declared incapacitated for the duration of the investigation. Several lawmakers on both sides of the house want him suspended in view of the gravity of the suspicions against him and because his defense will keep him too busy for the competent conduct affairs of state, especially urgent matters of national security.

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