Former prime minister Ehud Olmert told a press conference Monday that he leaves court “standing tall” after being handed a one year suspended sentence and a fine of NIS 75,300 for breaching the public trust in what has been called the “Investment Center Affair”.  Olmert was charged with using his position as Minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor to benefit his friends and colleagues.

If Olmert commits a similar crime in the next three years, he will have to serve jail time.

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Analysts expected Olmert to be sentenced to at least six months of community service, which in and of itself would have been seen as a major coup. Though the state recommended a six month prison sentence to be served through community service, Olmert argued that he had been through enough after having given up his position as prime minister and undergoing 4 years of court cases and investigations and should therefore be given no penalty. The court ultimately agreed with his arguments.

Olmert was acquitted in July of all serious crimes related to a series of incidents.

Olmert, who turns 67 on September 30, has expressed an interest in re-entering the political arena.

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Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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