More Developments in the Olmert Corruption Cases

Rapid developments in the various investigations of corruption against PM Olmert: The Supreme Court asks Atty.-Gen. why the "pens" case was closed, the Comptroller implies wrongdoing, and more.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 10:15

The Supreme Court ordered Attorney General Menachem Mazuz (pictured) to explain within 30 days why he closed the investigation against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert regarding expensive gifts he received as gifts. It had been reported that Olmert, a known pen collector, was given pens by dozens of people over the course of the years when he served as Mayor of Jerusalem and Minister of Trade, among other positions.

The pens are worth between 1,500 and 25,000 shekels each, for a total of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and some of them were received from people who had dealings with Olmert in his governmental capacities. investigative reporter Yoav Yitzchak, who first reported on the story, also wrote that Olmert was suspected of obstructing justice by removing 240 expensive fountain pens from his house when the investigation began.

The police investigated the matter and informed Mazuz that there was not sufficient evidence to indict Olmert. The Attorney General then ordered the case closed - but the Ometz organization appealed to the High Court, which has now reopened the case to some degree by ordering Mazuz to explain his decision.

Olmert is also under investigation in a case known as the Bank Leumi privatization sale, and State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss has submitted a letter to Mazuz implying that Olmert is suspected of criminal activity in that regard. This, in keeping with the law requiring the Comptroller to notify the Attorney General whenever he finds evidence of suspected criminal activity.

Olmert's representatives said that the entire set of accusations is merely a "blood libel" against the Prime Minister.

The Comptroller's Office has amassed evidence indicating that Olmert, who was Minister of Industry and Trade when Bank Leumi was being sold in 2005, should clearly have disqualified himself when dealing with two prospective buyers. One of them was a client of his father-in-law's law firm, and the other had sold Olmert an expensive house for just over half-price.

In yet another development in the above case, representatives of Olmert said that all of his actions in the Trade Ministry were taken under the supervision of the ministry's Legal Counsel - none other than Mazuz's sister, Yamima Mazuz. However, NFC reports, Ms. Mazuz was never informed of Olmert's likely conflict of interest, nor did Olmert consult with her as to whether he should disqualify himself.

Arutz-7 asked NFC's Yoav Yitzchak about his ongoing investigations into the Prime Minister's activities. Yitzchak said, "My goal is simply to uncover all the corruption of Prime Minister Olmert. I write about others as well, but of course the Prime Minister is the most interesting... Though this is not my stated goal, I am well aware that if the Prime Minister is forced to resign because of corruption, this will lead to far-reaching changes in the entire governmental structure."