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Israel’s State Prosecutor to Appeal Olmert Acquittals

By: JTA

Israel’s state prosecutor will appeal the acquittals of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in two of three cases decided earlier this year.

The prosecutor informed Olmert’s attorney on Tuesday that it will appeal the July acquittals on charges of fraud, breach of trust, tax evasion and falsifying corporate records in what became known as the Talansky and Rishon Tours affairs, according to the Justice Ministry.

His sentence in the Investment Center Affair, in which the Jerusalem District Court found Olmert guilty on the lesser charge of breach of trust, also will be appealed. Last month Olmert was sentenced to one to three years of probation and fined some $19,000 for granting personal favors to attorney Uri Messer when Olmert served as trade minister. The former prime minister could have faced up to three years in jail.

The announcement came a day after the 18th Knesset voted to dissolve itself and go to new elections in January, and as Olmert reportedly was deciding whether to attempt a political comeback in the elections.

Last week, Likud Party lawmaker Tzipi Hotovely petitioned Israel’s Central Elections Committee to prevent Olmert from running for office, citing the July conviction. The sentence in the Investment Center case did not include a ruling of moral turpitude, which would have prevented the 67-year-old from re-entering politics for seven years.

Olmert had agreed to forgo the perks awarded to a former head of state, including a secretary, an office and a car, in exchange for the finding.

Olmert is the first former Israeli prime minister ever to stand trial. He officially resigned as prime minister in September 2008 after police investigators recommended that he be indicted in the Talansky case.

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