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Ehud Olmert
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Oved Yehezkel
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Raanan Dinur
Photo: GPO
Police: Political appointments case against Olmert solid
Investigators say they have sufficient evidence to indict former PM for breach of trust in case pertaining to some 260 political appointments made during his stint at Industry Ministry; ministry's former Dir.-Gen. Dinur and ex-Cabinet Secretary Yehezkel may also face criminal charges

Police recommended filing a breach of trust indictment against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a case concerning political appointments made in Israel's Small and Medium Enterprise Authority (SMEA) during his tenure as industry, trade and labor minister.

 

The lengthy investigation was recently concluded and its findings were turned over to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz only a few days ago, Ynet learned Monday.

 

Commander Yoav Segalovich, head of the police Investigations and Intelligence Unit, noted that there was sufficient evidence to support criminal charges. This is the fourth indictment recommendation against the former PM.

 

The police also recommended filing charges against former Olmert advisor and Cabinet Secretary Oved Yehezkel, as well as against Raanan Dinur, former director-general of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry.

 

The investigation into the alleged political appointments in SMEA began in October 2007, after State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss' review of the ministry derived that during Olmert's tenure as minister, several members of the Likud Central Committee were named to various positions in the SMEA.

 

Lindenstrauss found that the candidates' only qualification for their positions was their political affiliation with the minister – Olmert. The state comptroller recommended Mazuz launch an investigation into the matter, saying the findings suggestted pssible criminal infringements.

 

During the probe, police investigators found that it ran deeper than first believed. The case eventually spanned 260 suspected cases of political appointments or fringe benefits pertaining to the various bodies Olmert was in charge of as industry, trade and labor minister.

 

The police believe that Olmert, Yehezkel and Dinur consistently rewarded members of the Likud Central Committee, some of whom were close, personal acquaintances with various fringe benefits.

 

According to the case file, the three promoted acquaintances, prevented dismissals and pushed various bids in the numerous bodies reporting to the ministry, the likes of the Israel Postal Service, Bezeq telecommunications, the Employment Service, the Israel Land Administration, Small and Medium Enterprise Authority appointments, the Labor Court, to name a few.

 

Amir Dan, Olmert's communications director offered the following comment: "The State Prosecutor's Office and the police are trying to disguise the fact that the Cremieux case was closed after three years of foot-dragging and miscarriage of justice, by deliberately issuing this announcement on the same day.

 

"The public is tired with this behavior from the State Prosecutor's Office and the police, who create media spins while settling accounts in a petty and reproachable manner. We regret that the system responsible of upholding the law is running such a circus", he added

 

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