Sixth corruption probe against PM Ehud Olmert
Following the two-hour police interrogation of prime minister Ehud Olmert at his Jerusalem home, Friday, July 11, the Justice ministry and Police jointly announced their investigation had been widened beyond the Talansky case.
Last month, the American businessman Morris Talanksy testified to handing Olmert $150,000 in envelopes during the ten years he served as Jerusalem Mayor and Industry Minister.
Olmert and his agents are now suspected of fraudulently obtaining the costs of each of his foreign trips on official business simultaneously from several public bodies and individuals, including the state. This suspected multiple funding scam was handled by Olmert’s travel agency, which billed each source separately as though it was the sole fund provider.
After deducting the real travel costs, the agency would transfer the balance to a special private account in Ehud Olmert’s name. He would draw on this account to finance his private trips and those of his family.
He is therefore suspected of pocketing fraudulently acquired moneys for his private use, a charge which state attorney Menahem Mazuz ordered investigated in several foreign countries in early June.
Olmert was questioned Friday for the third time in a widening corruption scandal that has led his Kadima party to hold a primary by September at the latest to force him out of office. He is not bound by law to step down before he is indicted.
Talansky appears before the Israeli district court for a second time on July 17 where he faces cross-examination by Olmert’s attorneys.