Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
JERUSALEM – Former prime minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of two counts of bribery by Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rozen on Monday. Olmert was found guilty of accepting bribes worth 560,000 shekels, or $160,000, from developers of Jerusalem’s Holyland Park residential project during his tenure as mayor of Jerusalem. Olmert helped the project’s developers in exchange for accepting the kickbacks.
Olmert, who plans to appeal the verdict, was acquitted on two other corruption charges.
During his reading of the verdict, Rozen sharply criticized Olmert’s credibility. “I reject Olmert’s account of events entirely,” he said. The judge condemned Olmert’s systematic attempts to avoid responsibility for his actions, instead blaming his bureau chief, Shula Zaken, and the state’s witness, businessman Shmuel Dechner, who died during the courtroom testimony phase. Dechner admitted funneling significant amounts of money to the defendants in order to move the Holyland project forward. His death nearly derailed the case against Olmert and his co-defendants.
Zaken was also convicted of accepting bribes, despite her eleventh-hour attempt to testify against Olmert in return for leniency. Rozen, the judge, denied her request. Eight others, including Olmert’s successor as mayor of Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski, were found guilty of corruption charges in the case.
Despite Rozen’s denial of Zaken’s request to testify against Olmert, the prosecution is confident that the Israel Police will recommend that Olmert be indicted on charges of obstruction of justice. The possibility of new charges being brought against Olmert comes after Zaken released damaging recordings of Olmert allegedly asking her to reject any plea deal that would allow her to testify against him in court. According to Israeli legal sources, conviction of an obstruction of justice charge often carries a jail term of five-seven years.
While Olmert’s legal defense team expressed “shock” at Rozen’s decision, lead defense attorney Roy Blecher is already preparing to ask the court for a delay of the April 28 sentencing arguments.
If Olmert is imprisoned for his crimes, he would be the first prime minister in Israel’s history to be incarcerated. Ironically, Moshe Katsav, who served as Israel’s president during Olmert’s time as prime minister, is serving seven years behind bars following a rape conviction in 2010.
Olmert’s conviction derailed his concerted attempt to reinvent himself as an international business consultant, which has seen him partner with former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz in a new business venture. Olmert was also reportedly using Dagan and Halutz as the backbones of his new centrist political party that would seek to oust Olmert’s political nemesis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Most Israeli political pundits agree that Olmert’s conviction brings any potential political resurrection to an end.
The Holyland case was the most serious in a seemingly endless series of corruption cases involving Olmert. In 2012 a judge acquitted him of illegally receiving political campaign funds via Long Island businessman Morris Talansky and the claiming of double travel expenses in the Rishon Tours scandal. Both cases might be reopened on appeal, based on Zaken’s alleged new evidence. Olmert received a suspended sentence for illegally obtaining government financing for businesses when he was Israel’s minister of industry, trade and labor.
Ironically the Holyland real-estate project, which was erected during the past decade, has turned out to be a financial fiasco for the builders of the project. According to Israel’s Calcalist business daily, the reputable companies that were involved in building and selling the project to mostly upscale Israeli and Anglo buyers have lost nearly $13 million. The grand project, which was expected to feature 12 apartment towers and a five-star hotel, boasts only eight buildings – with the remainder still on the drawing board.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Haaretz smears U.S. terrorism expert for being a Republican and friend of Sheldon Adelson.
Leslie W., 48, and his partner Akiwa H., 56, are charged with having sold more than 88,000 pounds of non-kosher meat for a marked-up price.
The Rabbinical Council of America said that since the arrest last week of Rabbi Barry Freundel of Washington, DC, it has been working assiduously to address the many challenges that its members and their communities now face.
ISIS propaganda video warns “our grandchildren will sell your sons as slaves.”
Historians one day will ask why robots run the State Dept.
At least eight civilians were killed in US-led coalition air strikes against ISIS in a Syrian town near Deir el-Zour.
Hezbollah guerrillas are back on Israel’s northern border even though they’re busy in Syria. The question is what they’re planning and when.
Let’s raise funds to send her to Syria where she can put some sense in her head, if it stays attached.
An Israeli and an Arab poll results after the war.
The long ordeal of the Armenian Orphan Rug, held hostage to fears of angering Turkey, has finally ended. Or has it?
Dr. Eli Harari will receive the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
New York State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz criticized the decision to not charge the suspect with a hate crime.
Former White House official Ron Klain has been tapped to coordinate the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak.
The mountain trek of a lifetime has ended for Israeli hiker Michal Gili Charkesky, whose body was recovered from the Himalayas.
As of Tuesday, all IDF forces operating in Gaza withdrew and redeployed to holding positions around Gaza.
The sophisticated cement tunnels, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars, were reportedly built with Qatari government funds.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the nation on Tuesday afternoon that if the rocket fire did not stop by Tuesday evening, he would order “an even harsher” military response.
“They were abducted and murdered in cold blood by human animals,” Netanyahu said shortly after the bodies were found.
Awad had been released as part of the Gilad Shalit kidnapping deal. Mizrachi’s widow, Hadas, told Israeli reporters that she had opposed the release of murderers as part of any kidnapping deal, and that Awad “deserved the death penalty so he wouldn’t kill again.”
If the abductors’ goal was to force Israeli authorities to release long-serving Palestinian prisoners, the effort backfired as Israeli forces are quickly rolling up what was left of Hamas in the West Bank and are reportedly contemplating the overthrow of the Hamas leadership in Gaza should harm come to the three teenagers.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/government-israel/olmert-convicted-in-holyland-bribery-case/2014/04/02/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: