Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert Ami Shoman

Jerusalem district court judges on Monday sentenced former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to eight months in jail, after he was found guilty in late March of fraud and breach of trust in the Morris Talansky case.

The judges sentenced Olmert, aside from the conditional prison term, to a fine of 100,000 shekels (over $25,000). Olmert's attorney announced his intentions to petition the ruling.

"A black flag waves around his (Olmert's) behavior and it requires a serious punishment," said Judge Ya'akov Tzaban. "A public figure, a minister in the government, receives money in cash, in dollars, part of it in a secret fund, makes private use of it, doesn't report to anyone of it, sins himself and makes the public service sin as well without any report."

In the corruption scandal, Olmert was accused of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars - with a large portion of it being passed in envelopes - from American Jewish businessman Morris Talansky, back when Olmert was Jerusalem Mayor and Minister of Trade and Industry. In return for the bribes, Olmert was to give Talansky preferential treatment in advancing his business interests.

While Olmert initially was found innocent in court, his former aide Shula Zaken then came forward with recordings of conversations between herself and him in which he openly admitted to accepting the bribes.

The prosecutor Attorney Uri Korev had requested that the court sentence Olmert to no less than a year of active jail time, although apparently the judges went with a shorter eight month sentencing.

Korev also asked that the jail time be given separately and not as part of the six year sentence Olmert was handed in the infamous Holyland corruption scandal, in which he gave permission for serious breaches of Jerusalem building regulations in return for massive bribes.

In the Holyland case the Supreme Court has yet to make a ruling concerning a petition on the part of the convicted.

Aside from his jail time, the prosecution is demanding Olmert pay a hefty fine which will be larger than the huge bribes he accepted in the Talansky affair.

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