More Investigations Against Olmert

AG Menachem Mazuz is investigating new criminal allegations against PM Ehud Olmert. The PM is is suspected of accepting bribes in the state's sale of Bank Leumi and illegal political appointments.

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 08:30

The Bank Leumi deal is the fifth in a series of criminal investigations against Olmert which NFC, the website of investigative journalist Yoav Yitzchak, has led in researching and reporting.

The latest case involves suspicions that in 2005, when Olmert served as Acting Finance Minister, he advanced the interests of two wealthy men who wished to purchase controlling interest in Bank Leumi. One of them had contributed large sums to Olmert's campaign for Mayor of Jerusalem, and the other one is a client of Olmert's father-in-law's law firm.

NFC reports that the investigation is being waged secretly, "despite Olmert's status, and despite the importance of publicizing this information at this time when Olmert is seeking the Knesset's support in expanding his government."

At this stage of the Bank Leumi investigation, a comprehensive review is underway by two senior State Prosecution attorneys, under the auspices of Deputy State Prosecutor Shuki Lemberger. They are investigating evidence of bribery, and the next stage, NFC reports, is the "near-certain public announcement of a full criminal investigation."

The financial department of the police detective department will run the investigation. Headed by Yoav Segelovitz, the top detective in the President Katzav case, the department will designate its top men to investigate the Olmert-Leumi case within the coming days, when the Katzav investigation is completed.

NFC quotes a "senior Justice Ministry source" as saying that activities are underway that cannot be revealed, both because of their great sensitivity and because of the danger that certain aspects of the investigation would be put at risk.

In response to a query from Arutz-7, the Justice Ministry's spokesman responded:
"A number of weeks ago, the State Comptroller's Office submitted to the Attorney General materials regarding the tender for the sale of the controlling interest in Bank Leumi. The Attorney General submitted these materials, as is customary, to the State Prosecutor for Prosecution review and the preparation of an opinion as to how to proceed with them. At this stage, no decisions have yet been made, no criminal proceeding is underway on the issue, and the police are not involved in the matter."

Political Appointments, Too
In a separate development, an official in the State Comptroller's Office told the Knesset Control Committee Tuesday about material linking Olmert with political appointments in the Small Business Authority. Former police official Yaakov Borovsky, who oversees a campaign against government corruption, says the findings raise suspicions of criminal acts.

Knesset Control Committee Chairperson MK Esterina Tartman (Yisrael Beiteinu) strongly censured Prime Minister Olmert for not showing up to the session. She said that the timing of the session was specifically coordinated in advance with Olmert's office, and that a few days ago he said he could not appear because of an important security meeting. She said that such security meetings are usually held on Sundays, and that Olmert's behavior was "disgraceful" and a "mockery of the Knesset, the Committee, and the nation."

After it was reported that evidence against Olmert regarding his political appointments had been submitted to the Attorney General, MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz) said to Tartman, "Now you understand why he didn't show up today."

Yoav Yitzchak has reported in the past on investigations by the State Comptroller and/or Attorney General against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Among them are the German Colony building sale, currently under investigation by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss; the Kaf-Tet B'November Street house sale; and the "expensive pens" gifts. NFC notes that other Israeli media have been ignoring most of the allegations against the Prime Minister, "thus not fulfilling their public mission."