Ehud Olmert
Photo: Reuters
State prosecutor closes Leumi case against Olmert
Lador decides evidence gathered in case of sale of Bank Leumi's controlling shares does not warrant filing charges against prime minister, says Olmert's involvement in questionable bid minor

State Prosecutor Moshe Lador decided Thursday to close the Bank Leumi case against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.


The Leumi case centered on suspicions that Olmert, while being the locum tenens for the finance minister in Ariel Sharon's government, used his influence to make sure an Australian businessman, Frank Louie, won the bank's privatization tender.


After a lengthy investigation, the police recommended the case be closed.


"The manner in which Olmert conducted himself in this case, according to the evidence gathered, indicate that his actual involvement in the events was minor," said Lador's final brief, adding that the evidence at hand fail to substantiate any of the suspicions in the case.


The investigation, added the brief, did not answer all the questions regarding Olmert's conflict of interests in the sale of the bank's controlling shares, but nevertheless, the State Prosecutor's Office could not come up with any evidence which would support a criminal indictment.


'Every effort made'

The police findings in the case were studied by a special legal team, which included Lador, his deputy, the deputy attorney general, and the head of the State Prosecutor's Office's financial division.


Several months ago, the police were called on to supply the team with additional information to the case file. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz was not involved in the decision, since his sister, Yemima Mazuz, was a top legal counsel in the Treasury.


Olmert's communications director, Amir Dan, said that "from the onset of this case two years ago, the prime minister said that it would be closed, but he still found himself under daily, vicious attacks.


"It would have been wiser to wait patiently before declaring his guilt so bluntly. The prime minister is sure that the other cases against him will have a similar result."


A police statement said that the case entailed various investigative procedures, and that while some of the people involved were deposed, others were questioned under caution.


The police, added the statement, searched the offices of the various lawyers who handled the bid, as well as the Finance and Industry, Trade and Labor ministries; and gathers various documents from investment banks, the Bank of Israel, communications companies and law firms.


The Department also held deposed witnesses in the US and Australia, all in the effort to get to the bottom of the case.


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