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August 31, 2014 / 5 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Holyland’

Numerous Associates Sentenced to Prison with Former PM Ehud Olmert

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Several other associates of former prime minister Ehud Olmert were sentenced to prison Tuesday and fined millions of shekels, along with the ex-politician.

Of 13 top public officials and business leaders who were charged in the affair, 10 were convicted on March 31 of charges of bribery, moral turpitude, money laundering and more.

The guilty sentenced today (Tuesday) were:

Dan Dankner,  former chairman of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s second largest bank. He is currently joint chairman of Israel Salt Industries. Dankner was convicted on charges of offering hundreds of thousands in bribes to rezone the land on which the Holyland complex is built. Dankner was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined NIS 1.5 million.

Hillel Cherney, developer of Holyland, the residential complex project that started the nightmare in the first place. He was convicted on 19 charges of corruption and additional charges of breach of trust.  Cherney was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined NIS 2 million.

Avigdor Kelner, another developer of Holyland. He was convicted of two charges of corruption. Kelner was sentenced to three years in prison and fined NIS 1 million.

Meir Rabin, a real estate developer. He was charged with mediating the bribery between developers and government officials for Holyland. Rabin was sentenced to five years in prison.

Uri Sheetrit, a former Jerusalem municipal engineer. He was charged with taking bribes. Sheetrit was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Eliezer Simchayoff, a Jerusalem city council member. He was convicted on two counts of bribery and immediately suspended himself following sentencing, pending the outcome of his appeal.  Simchayoff was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined NIS 300,000.

All are expected to appeal to the Supreme Court within a few days.

Others convicted but not sentenced today are:

Shmuel Dachner (deceased), before his death in March 2013 represented Holyland real estate developer Hillel Cherney. Dachner turned state’s witness and gave testimony that formed the core of the case against most of those convicted in March.

Shula Zaken, former top aide to Olmert. Zaken was convicted on charges of corruption and was closely associated with nearly everything the former mayor, minister and prime minister did. She made a plea bargain arrangement with the state that has reportedly led to a prison term of 11 months. She will be formally sentenced this coming Thursday, May 15.

Uri Lupolianski, was assistant mayor to then-Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert and then succeeded him in the post. He was convicted on charges of offering  bribes to rezone the land on which the Holyland complex is built. Lupolianski, in poor health, will be sentenced on June 9.

Fines are to be paid in 10 installments, according to the court decision.

Former PM Ehud Olmert Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced Tuesday morning to serve six years in prison. The judge also imposed a fine of NIS 1 million ($289,000.)  He ordered authorities to seize NIS 500,000 in funds the former prime minister has collected from various sources, including numerous speaking engagements in the United States.

Olmert was ordered to begin serving his prison sentence on September 1, pending appeal.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen handed down the sentence in what has become known as the famed “Holyland trial” after Olmert was convicted on two charges of bribery.

The former prime minister was convicted of taking bribes from contractors who built the Holyland residential complex near the Malha Mall in Jerusalem.

The rezoning and other “adjustments” that came in exchange for bribes continued through the 1990s and into the next decade. These were the years in which Olmert served as mayor of the capital city and minister of industry, trade and infrastructure. Both were pivotal posts from which to smooth the way for the developers of the Holyland project.

Olmert was also recently questioned on suspicion of witness tampering and obstruction of justice, according to Israel’s Channel 2 television. The allegations are based on recordings given to police by former Olmert aide Shula Zaken, his closest aide, also convicted in the wide-ranging Holyland scandal. Zaken gave police the recordings as part of her plea bargain with the prosecution.

The Holyland trial has dragged on for years, tainting Olmert’s term as prime minister and shadowing the country’s years beyond while bringing down numerous aides and colleagues.

Before pronouncing sentence, the judge pointed out that Olmert is an “intelligent, brilliant people person” and called him an “avid Zionist.” He praised him for donating to bereaved families and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center.

But he then sharply reprimanded the former state leader, saying “The crime of bribery pollutes public service, destroys governments…” and called it “one of the worst crimes.”

Rosen said Olmert was guilty of moral turpitude — a term that means the ex-politican will be forced to wait at least seven years before re-entering the field. The judge added that those who take bribes are equivalent to “traitors” in their betrayal of the public trust.

To punish that betrayal, the judge revoked the 10 percent of Olmert’s mayoral pension.

Olmert has been convicted previously charges of corruption. In 2012, he was pronounced guilty of taking bribes in a Jerusalem case.

That trial earned the former mayor and subsequent minister and prime minister a light sentence of community service only. The judge in the case said in his decision that Olmert’s state leadership as prime minister had afforded him the right to leniency.

Not so today, however.  Judge Rosen said in his decision that the higher the post of the public servant, the harsher the punishment for bribery should be.

“Those who belong to the social and economic elite of the nation should not be held to the same standard as those in common society,” Rosen said. He added in explanation that his hands were tied by law in meting out the punishment, and that he was enjoined by those legal guidelines to set a minimum sentence without discretion.

Olmert issued a statement prior to sentencing saying that he was innocent and protesting an expected sentence that included prison time.

“This is a sad day on which a severe and unjust verdict is to be handed down to an innocent man,” Olmert said in his statement.

He has 45 days to appeal in Supreme Court – which he plans to do,, said Olmert spokesperson Amir Dan. He added that he hopes “the real picture will emerge and the verdict will change completely.”

To the eternal shame of the State of Israel, this is the first time in the history of the nation that a prime minister has been convicted of a felony and sent to prison. Likewise, former president Moshe Katsav is currently serving time in prison for having raped and sexually assaulted his female employees.

Olmert will appeal the conviction and sentence in the Supreme Court, spokesperson Amir Dan said. His attorney Eli Zohar is expected to file a request for a stay of sentence in the meantime.

Sentence Imminent for Former PM Olmert

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is about to be sentenced after being convicted on two charges of bribery.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen will bear the burden of pronouncing sentence on the former leader of the State.

The prosecution has asked the judge to sentence Olmert to a minumum term of six years in prison for his crimes. He was acquitted on numerous other charges in other cases that were dropped.

The former prime minister was accused of corruption in connection with taking bribes during the time he served as mayor of Jerusalem and as later as a government minister.

The Holyland real estate trial dragged on for years during his term as prime minister and brought down numerous aides and colleagues.

Government Prosecutor Wants Olmert in Jail for At Least Six years

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Government prosecutors told a sentence hearing on Monday that the former prime minister should be jailed for at least 6 six years and fined nearly $400,000 for bribery.

He was convicted last month for buying favors in the development of the Holyland apartment complex while he was mayor of Jerusalem.

The prosecutor also asked the court to put former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupianski in prison for 5-8 years.

Former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski Convicted in Holyland Case

Monday, March 31st, 2014

A second former Jerusalem mayor, Uri Lupolianski, has also been convicted by a Tel Aviv District Court of corruption in the years-long Holyland case.

Lupolianski was found guilty of receiving bribes in exchange for allowing construction of the Holyland Park luxury residential complex near Jerusalem’s Malha Mall.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was  also convicted earlier in the day. Olmert, who at the time was mayor of Jerusalem and subsequently Minister of Trade and Labor, was convicted of receiving bribes from the contractors for the project.

Justice David Rosen ruled that Lupolianski was aware of sizeable donations to the Yad Sarah charity organization. “He had chosen to act against moral standards,” Rosen commented.

According to police suspicions, between 1999 and 2008, the Holyland development company and associated land development projects, then owned by businessman Hillel Charni, paid tens of millions of shekels in bribes through intermediaries to senior public decision makers in the Jerusalem Municipality.

“The broad canvas painted by the state’s witness revealed corrupt systems of government that had rotted over the years,” Rosen wrote in his decision. “Hundreds of thousands of shekels were transferred to elected and public officials. “The state’s witness didn’t transfer the money out of the goodness of his heart, but rather with the intention that Olmert would help promote projects.”

The state’s witness Shmuel Dachner, who is now deceased, was also convicted in the case, as was his aide, Meir Rabin, former Deputy Mayor Eliezer Simhayoff, former city engineer Uri Sheetrit, former aide to Ehud Olmert, Shuli Zaken, and others.

Of the 12 defendants in the case, nine were convicted, and three acquitted.

Former PM Ehud Olmert Found ‘Guilty’ in Holyland Trial

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been found guilty in the Holyland trial that dealt with corruption in the building of the massive luxury residential complex near the Malha Mall in Jerusalem.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen announced the verdict Monday morning, handing down a verdict of “guilty” on charges of receiving bribes to allow contractors to proceed in construction of Holyland Park.

Olmert allegedly took the bribes from Holyland’s developers and the company Hazera Genetics during his time as Jerusalem mayor and minister of industry, trade and labor.

Of 12 defendants in the years-long trials, only three have been acquitted in the case.

The state’s witness Shmuel Dachner, who is now deceased, was also convicted in the case, as was his aide, Meir Rabin, former Deputy Mayor Eliezer Simhayoff, former city engineer Uri Sheetrit, former aide to Ehud Olmert, Shuli Zaken, and others.

Rosen slammed what he called “a corrupt political system which has decayed over years… and in which hundreds of thousands of shekels were transferred to elected officials.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/former-pm-ehud-olmert-found-guilty-in-holyland-trial/2014/03/31/

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