Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced Sunday that he intends on pressing fraud and breach of trust charges against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in
the Israeli Investment Center case.
The final decision is pending a judicial hearing which Olmert will have to face before the Attorney General's Office.
The former prime minister's involvement with
the Investment Center dates back to 2002 and his time as industry and trade minister. He is believed to have used the authority of his office – in a stark conflict of interest – in order to advance a real estate deal headed by his confidant, Attorney Uri Messer.
"The affinities, joint interests and connection between Olmert and Messer, which were unknown to those around them, made him committed to Messer," said an Attorney General's Office statement on the case.
"(Olmert) was bound to recuse himself of any matter involving Messer and his clients," but instead, he made sure to be well versed in their business, "despite a clear conflict of interest."
In a memorandum informing Olmert's attorneys of his decision, Mazuz said that given the somewhat limited scope of the case, he would like to hold all of Olmert's judicial hearings – namely those meant to decide the fate of the Talansky and
double billing cases,
as well as the one concerning the Investments Center case – in a consecutive fashion.
Mazuz explained the decision by saying that all three cases may eventually culminate in one, joint indictment, should one be filed.
"Olmert is proud of all the decision he made in order to advance Israel and the Negev's industries and he would undoubtedly make the same decisions today," Amir Dan, the former PM's communications director, said once he learned of Mazuz's decision.
"This case will surely meet the same end as the Leumi and Cremieux cases before it will be closed."
The Bank Leumi case,
in which Olmert was suspected of using his influence ensure Australian businessman Frank Louie won the bank's privatization tender, and the Cremieux case,
in which he was suspected if eliciting a significant discount on the purchase of a house on Jerusalem's Cremieux Street, were closed by the police due to lack of evidence.