Photo Credit: Yotam Ronen / POOL / Flash 90
Former PM Ehud Olmert at Tel Aviv District Court hears his sentence on May 13, 2014. (archive)

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been found guilty of fraud and breach of trust on a retrial in what has become known as the ‘Talansky Affair.’

The ruling was a unanimous decision handed down by a three-judge panel. Olmert is to be sentenced on May 7.

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In 2012, Olmert was acquitted on charges of accepting bribes in cash-stuffed envelopes from New York businessman and philanthropist Morris (Moshe) Talansky. Among the charges were allegations the money changed hands during the time that Olmert served as mayor of Jerusalem and as a minister of trade and industry, before becoming prime minister.

Former Olmert confidant and office manager Shula Zaken paid a high price for her loyalty when she was convicted along with many others. But Zaken was sent to prison with a much lighter sentence resulting from a plea bargain deal in the second corruption case in which Olmert was convicted and sentenced last year. Also in connection with that deal, 

Zaken became a state’s witness in that trial, providing evidence in the form of tape recorded conversations with her boss about receiving the cash.

Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the district court to re-open the current case to hear that evidence, which led to his retrial in the Talansky affair, three years after his acquittal.

Nearly a year ago, in May 2014, Olmert was convicted on charges of taking bribes while serving as mayor of Jerusalem, and sentenced to six years in prison.

The massive Jerusalem real estate scandal known as the “HolyLand affair” rocked the country, bringing one major name after another into the District Court.

Olmert’s attorneys said they would vigorously appeal today’s (Monday, March 31, 2015) verdict, as they did with that last year.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

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