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Olmert. Three other indictments still stand
Photo: Reuters
צילום: אלכס קולומויסקי
The house on Cremieux Street
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Mazuz closes Cremieux case against Olmert
Attorney general cites lack of evidence as reason from ending probe which tried to ascertain whether former PM received significant discount when purchasing an apartment in prestigious Jerusalem realty project in exchange for helping promote it

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced Monday that he would be closing the investigation against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the Cremieux affair, after the police informed him ago that there was no sufficient evidence to merit filing criminal charges against him in the case.

 

The case focused on the suspicion that Olmert bought an apartment on Jerusalem's Cremieux Street for a significantly reduced price during his tenure as industry, trade and labor minister, in a bid to speed up sales on the real estate project.

 

The Cremieux affair began in a state comptroller's report in March 2006, which uncovered suspicions of a faulty relationship between the former prime minister and his wife and a real estate entrepreneur in Jerusalem.

 

According to suspicions, during Olmert's tenure as industry, trade and labor minister the couple bought a house for preservations in Jerusalem's German Colony neighborhood for a significantly reduced price. In return, Olmert allegedly promoted the real estate project at the Jerusalem Municipality, while intervening in the permit receiving process.

 

The police looked into suspicions that Olmert committed fraud and breach of trust offenses and even took a bribe, but eventually reached the conclusion that there was no sufficient evidence to prove that these criminal offenses had in fact taken place.

 

Last week, Mazuz met with State Prosecutor Moshe Lador and other senior officials at the State Prosecutor's Office, and decided to close the case.

 

The Justice Ministry said in a statement that while the investigation did not clear some of the doubts concerning the deal and the conduct of those involved in the case, there was not enough evidence to establish whether Olmert did, in fact, receive a significant discount in exchange for municipal mitigations.

 

According to the attorney general, the material gathered in the case included findings showing that the municipality's handling of the Cremieux project was unusual and affected the conduct of different city officials who knew that Olmert had purchased an apartment in the project. However, no sufficient evidence was found to support the claim that this activity stemmed from the then-minister's involvement.

 

Olmert's advisor: All cases will be closed  

In April, State Prosecutor Lador decided to close another case against Olmert, which focused on suspicions that Olmert used his influence to ensure an Australian businessman, Frank Louie, won Bank Leumi's privatization tender.

 

In three other cases, the attorney general has already decided to file charges against Olmert, pending a hearing: The Double-billing case, the Talansky affair, and the Investment Center case.

 

A police investigation is still ongoing in a sixth affair, dealing with political appointments in the Small and Medium Enterprises Authority.

 

Olmert's media advisor, Amir Dan, said in response to Mazuz's decision, "Three years of a never-ending investigation, of tendentious leaks and of a slew of fiery and insulting declarations against Olmert end today in complete silence.

 

"This is a decision which should have been made a long time again rather than three years later, after a prime minister has already been removed from his seat. I have no doubt that all the cases will be closed like this one."

 

Last week, Olmert's attorneys sent a poignant letter to Mazuz following the decision to indict the former prime minister's travel coordinator Rachael Risby-Raz in the Rishon Tours double-billing affair. In the letter, the lawyers informed Mazuz of their decision to waive Olmert's right to a preliminary hearing, claiming such hearing is useless as the State Prosecutor's Office appears firm in its intention to indict Olmert.

 

According to the indictment, Olmert systematically deceived organizations which funded his trips abroad, received double funding, and used the money accumulated at the travel agents to pay for plane tickets for his family members.

 

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