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Olmert: I didn't do it Photo: Angel Martinez
Olmert: I didn't do it Photo: Angel Martinez
 
 

Olmert denies involvement in Holyland scandal

Real estate project at center of corruption affair modified after his term as Jerusalem mayor, Olmert says; former PM slams 'character assassination' attempts against him, says he was never offered or took bribe

Aviad Glickman
Latest Update: 04.15.10, 20:23 / Israel News

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dismissed out of hand suggestions that he was involved in the Holyland corruption scandal Thursday, saying again that he never took or was offered a bribe.

 

In a special press conference, Olmert slammed what he characterized as efforts to defame him.

 

"What we have here is a character assassination attempt that is unprecedented in its scope and might," he told the cameras.

 

Earlier Thursday, it was reported that Olmert is expected to be interrogated in the coming days over bribery suspicions in relation to Jerusalem real estate project Holyland.

 

"I supported the Holyland project initially…yet the plans were changed completely after I was no longer the mayor," he said. "I am wholly uninvolved in the changes that took place later," he said.

 

"I declare in the most decisive manner, as I said in the past – I was never offered a bribe, and I never took a bribe from anyone, in any matter, in any way, whether directly or indirectly," he said, adding that he is ready to be interrogated by police. "I'm here! I'm willing to be interrogated at any stage and at any moment the police decide they wish to question me."

 

Olmert calls for patience 

Olmert noted that a total of six police probes in respect to bribery suspicions were launched against him while he served as prime minister, adding that all these cases were eventually closed.

 

"This process caused great distress, yet for a moment I did not consider the prospect of not cooperating with Israel Police investigators," he said.

 

Olmert also urged Israelis to exercise patience and "not support interference with the probe via tendentious reports and leaks that are baseless."

 

Olmert was abroad in recent days and only returned to Israel Thursday, at which point police officials revealed that he was the "senior figure" allegedly involved in the Holyland affair.

 

First Published: 04.15.10, 20:13

 

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