Olmert Aide to be Released from Jail Early

Shula Zaken's 11-month sentence as part of a plea bargain incriminating Olmert to be shortened by two-thirds.

Yedidya Ben-Or, Ari Yashar,

Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Noam Moskowitz/POOL/Flash 90

The prison release committee decided on Monday morning to release former Ehud Olmert aide Shula Zaken early, after she serves two-thirds of her sentence over her part in the infamous Holyland corruption scandal.

Zaken will be released at the end of January from the Neve Tirza women's prison, thereby fulfilling two-thirds of her 11-month sentence after opting for a plea bargain in the corruption case in which city building statutes were broken - reportedly in return for hefty kickbacks.

In the plea bargain Zaken agreed to present evidence against Olmert, evidence consisting of a series of recordings of various meetings between the two in which they are heard discussing the various corruption scandals Olmert is accused of.

In one recording Olmert was heard telling Zaken to take the blame on herself, saying "the moment it comes out that I gave you cash - $30,000 - or the moment it comes out that I knew from you that (Samuel) Dachner is giving a donation, it means that I'm an accomplice to bribery. Period. That's it."

In another recording, Olmert is heard telling his former aid "this week, G-d willing, I need to receive $125,000, I hope to transfer part of the cash, not this week but next Friday, and that - you'll decide how much to give him. Okay?"

Olmert is heard asking Zaken not to testify and incriminate him in another recording, in which he warns "he'll murder you and you will incriminate yourself on the witness stand, that's what terrifies me."

Former Defense Minister Ehud Barak's name is raised in another recording, with Olmert claiming Barak was taking millions in bribes.

It appears that Olmert's trial will continue long after Zaken is released, as the case continues to build against him.




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