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Olmert. Likely to be cleared
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Official: All cases against Olmert will probably be dropped
Sources close to State Prosecutor Eran Shendar say there isn't sufficient evidence for a case against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Bank Leumi affair, or in any of the scandals he is implicated in
Sources close to State Prosecutor Eran Shendar said Thursday that there isn't sufficient evidence for a legal case against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the Bank Leumi affair.

 

According to suspicion, Olmert attempted to illegally advance a bid for the controlling share of Bank Leumi filed by his associates Frank Lowy and Daniel Abrams during his tenure as stand-in finance minister in 2005.

 

Furthermore, the sources said, most of the many allegations against the prime minister lacked sufficient evidence. The only strong case finds Olmert responsible for making an illegal political appointment, but this case may not even have legal implications, the sources said.

 

Private meetings held in recent days at the State Attorney's Office have reportedly concluded that all cases against Olmert will be dropped, thus proving the PM's inner circle correct, who have been insisting for months that Olmert will be ultimately cleared of all suspicions.

 

Probe draws to close 

In the meantime, investigators from the National Fraud Unit, headed by Brig.-Gen. Shlomi Ayalon, met with Olmert for a second round of questioning on Thursday. The investigation, which took place at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, lasted roughly four hours, thus concluding questioning regarding the Bank Leumi scandal.

 

The investigators are trying to discern whether Olmert tried to convince Lowy and Abrams to acquire the controlling share of Bank Leumi and, if so, what his motives were. The police team also inquired about the nature of the head of state's relationship with Tamar Ben-David, who is being investigated for acting as a middleman between Olmert and Lowy.

 

In the end, Lowy's group withdrew its bid for control over the bank "because they were not able to outbid the other competitors," one of the investigators said.

 

The main witness in the case was Dr.Yaron Zelicha, general accountant for the Finance Ministry, who reported the matter to State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss. The comptroller then issued a recommendation to launch a criminal investigation into the affair.

 

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