Full cooperation. Olmert
Photo: Reuters
National Fraud Unit investigates Olmert
Prime minister questioned by police after AG issues special order to begin urgent probe regarding alleged bribery by American businessman prior to his induction in office

Another day another probe? Head of the National Fraud Unit Brigadier-General Shlomi Ayalon and two other investigators, arrived at  Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Jerusalem home Friday morning, for a short questioning session. 


The session, which began at 10:00 am, ended some 90 minutes later. The proceeding was held with the prime minister questioned under advisement. Once the interrogation ended, the three police officers reportedly rushed to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz's office to brief him on the developments in the case and decide on future proceedings.


Olmert, said the Prime Minister's Office in a short statement issued Friday afternoon, cooperated with his investigators in full, and will continue to do so.


The urgent probe, proxy of a special order issued Thursday night by Mazuz, was the opening act in another investigation launched against Olmert, this time for allegedly receiving bribed from an American businessman based in Israel - before he was elected prime minister, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday. 


Former Prime Minister's Office Bureau Chief Shula Zaken was also questioned by the police on the matte.


According to a report in Yedioth Ahronoth, 

the alleged bribes amount to a small fortune, paid in cash in various occasions which took place both in Israel and abroad. The businessman in question, who is currently in Israel, is said to be cooperating with the police.


The new investigation is not directly linked to one of the ongoing investigations against Olmert, but its leads did surface while the police were working on one of them.


Shula Zaken, who served as Olmert's bureau chief for years, was reportedly interrogated by the National Fraud Investigations Unit on Tuesday. Zaken has been questioned by the police in the past in connection to other investigations held against the PM, as well as in connection with an affair which exposed alleged corruption in the Israeli Tax Authority.


"The prime minister intends to fully cooperate with law enforcement officials, as he has done in the past," said the Prime Minister's Office Thursday. "He is convinced that as the truth will emerge in the framework of the police investigation, the suspicions against him will dissipate."


At this time, Olmert is facing three different investigations related to the time he served as the minister of trade, labor, and commerce.


Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report


First published: 02.05.08, 07:45
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