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Bribery Case Against Olmert Dismissed

AG Menachem Mazuz announced Monday that former PM Olmert would not be charged with taking a bribe.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/10/2009, 6:24 PM

(file)

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced Monday the closing of one of the cases against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert - for lack of guilt. Olemrt will not be charged with corruption in a case involving Laniado Hospital in Netanya. He had been accused of taking a bribe in exchange for assisting the hospital and a number of non-profit organizations in matters involving the Israel Land Administration.

The Movement for Quality Government initiated an investigation into the affair over a year ago. The group accused Olmert of accepting one million shekels from Moshe Reich, a member of the Sanz chassidic community, and of helping Sanz institutions in return.

The movement included in its complaint an email sent by Reich to Oved Yechezkel, formerly Olmert's senior aide, saying that one million shekels had been sent.

"A police investigation did not uncover evidence to support the suspicion that formed the basis of your complaint,” Mazuz said in a letter to the Quality Government group. Police conducted a serious investigation and questioned several suspects, he said.

As for the email, Mazuz explained, Reich had indeed sent one million shekels, but was merely repaying a bank loan overseen by the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor under Olmert. Several testimonies and documents supported Reich's claim that the money was sent in order to repay a debt, he said.

Last month Mazuz closed a corruption case against Olmert known as the Cremieux Street affair, in which Olmert was accused of receiving a significant discount when purchasing a home in Jerusalem, in return for providing the company that built the home with building permits. The Cremieux case was also closed for lack of evidence. In response to a suit filed by journalist Yoav Yitzchak, the Supreme Court has demanded that Mazuz explain why he closed this case against Olmert.

Before that, charges were dropped in the Bank Leumi affair, in which Olmert was accused of changing the conditions of the sale of shares in Bank Leumi in order to help a business associate.

Olmert still faces charges in the Rishon Tours affair. He is accused of double-billing several non-profit organizations and the government for trips abroad, and using the tens of thousands of dollars he gained to finance vacations for family members.

He is also suspected of illegally receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from American businessman Morris (Moshe) Talansky and using his political influence to help friends and business associates during his term as Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor.