Corruption charges filed against former Israeli Prime Minister Olmert

Ehud_Olmert_2007Feb19Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was indicted yesterday with multiple corruption charges including fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate records, receiving illicit benefits, and tax evasion. This is the first time that a former Israeli prime minister has been indicted for criminal charges.

An additional corruption investigation involving allegedly illegal political appointments is still pending against Ehud Olmert. Three other criminal investigations were dropped this summer. Olmert denies any criminal wrongdoing and is allegedly kicking off a public relations campaign to convince the public of his innocence.

The indictment against Olmert brings together three different criminal entanglements, the Talansky case, the Rishontours double billing case, and the Investment Center case. In the Talansky case, the State will argue that since 1993 Olmert received hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal funds from an American businessman Morris Talansky and in exchange assisted Talansky in his business ventures.

In the Rishontours case, the State will argue that while serving in public office in Olmert double- and triple-billed his trips abroad, and falsifying corporate and tax records. In the investment center case, the prosecution will argue gross conflicts of interests with Olmert’s relationship with the Investment Center during his time as industry, trade and labor minister.

Sources close to the former prime minister called the indictment as “stale Swiss cheese, full of holes, contradictions and conflicting evidence.”