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Olmert Tries to Escape Turpitude, Gives Up Ex-PM Benefits

Former PM Ehud Olmert attempts to escape a moral turpitude ruling by announcing he will give up the benefits given to a former premier.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/5/2012, 4:47 AM

Ehud Olmert (right)
Ehud Olmert (right)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attempted to escape a moral turpitude ruling on Tuesday, by announcing that he would give up the benefits he is entitled to as a former Prime Minister.

The announcement was made by Olmert’s lawyer, Eli Zohar, and it came one day before a court hearing on Wednesday in which the prosecution plans to request that the Jerusalem District Court rule there is moral turpitude in Olmert’s actions for which he was convicted.

In July, the Court found Olmert guilty on charges of breach of trust in the “Investment Center” case. The charges concerned conflict of interest in an investment deal by giving favorable treatment to companies run by a former business partner.

Olmert was acquitted on more serious indictments of double-billing and receiving cash from American-Jewish businessman Moshe Talansky.

If the court rules that there is moral turpitude in his actions, Olmert would be barred from holding public office for seven years and would lose the benefits afforded to former Prime Ministers, such as an office, staff, telephone, car, driver and related expenses.

The prosecution, unfazed by Olmert’s attorney’s announcement, said it would still ask the court to rule that there is moral turpitude in Olmert’s actions.

“We regret this unprecedented style of action by Olmert’s lawyers,” prosecutor Uri Korb was quoted in an Army Radio report as having said. “We took a friendly step when we sent them a letter in which we announced our intention to request moral turpitude, but we heard about their reply only from the media.”

Zohar, for his part, claimed that the State is seeking to punish Olmert for the two cases of which he was acquitted.