Former Prime Minister Olmert
Former Prime Minister OlmertIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s return to Israel Wednesday night opened the gates for the police and courts to take the wraps off the Holyland apartment bribery case and reveal that he is the ”senior public figure” who is the prime suspect.

Police said they will summon Olmert in the next several days for questioning.

Contrary to reports by TIME magazine that police would be waiting at the airport to arrest him, the former prime minister traveled to his home near Jerusalem after arriving shortly after midnight but woke up Thursday morning to what he probably already knew – another, and possible the most devastating, charge of bribery in addition to charges he faces in three other cases.

The courts have kept secret the identity of the state’s prime witness, for his own protection.

One day before Olmert was named, police arrested former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, who denied the charges and pointed out that Olmert was the mayor of the city when he was deputy mayor and the huge Holyland apartment complex was in the process of being approved.

The developing case, involving millions of dollars in alleged bribes, is an earthquake in the Israeli political-business system, and whistleblowers are hoping it will break a long tradition of an exchange of favors between business owners and government officials.

One judge termed the affair the worst bribery case in the modern history of Israel.