Olmert testifies in own defense - Israel News, Ynetnews
 
ynetnews
web


   Israel News

Israel News
World News
Israel Opinion
Jewish
Israel Business
Israel Culture
Israel Travel
Defense Tactic

Olmert in court Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Olmert in court Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
 
Shula Zaken Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Shula Zaken Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
 
 

Olmert testifies in own defense

Launching defense phase of corruption trial, former prime minister says he trusted his associates, signed checks without scrutinizing them

Aviad Glickman
Published: 05.31.11, 13:47 / Israel News

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is currently testifying in the trial brought against him at the Jerusalem District Court. "I'm fighting for my life here, nothing else," Olmert told the judges.

 

"I have gone through much pain and distress to get here," he said. "What I'm telling you connects to who I am – not who I was made out to be… It's very very important that you get to know the man that I believe I am."

 

 

Mideast Policy
A speech isn’t enough / Ehud Olmert
Former PM Olmert says peace requires bold decisions, will not be achieved through speeches
Full Story

Olmert, who is being charged with fraud and breach of trust, was expected to reveal his defense strategy during the hearing. On Monday he requested the hearing to be postponed for medical reasons, but the judges rejected his plea. His testimony is expected to last a number of sessions.

 

After telling his life story, Olmert was asked by his attorney to specify why he chose Shula Zaken, who is being tried alongside him, as his bureau chief in the first place.

 

"I was older, she was a young woman," he said. "We thought that she was the most qualified. She was just waiting for that moment… She came a long way, became the chief of the Prime Minister's Office."


Olmert in court (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg) 

 

Olmert described Zaken as a confidant whom he trusted with all maters. "There were cases she was authorized to sign my checks. She had my check book."

 

Olmert said that when he opened his law firm with attorney Uri Messer, where Zaken also worked, he trusted the two completely. He said that he did not deal with the firm's financial matters, and even used to sign checks without examining them.

 

Some of the charges against Olmert touch upon alleged funds that he received from US businessman Moris Talansky. In his testimony, Olmert said that he was introduced to Talansky through donors who contributed to his mayoral campaign in the early 1990s. "He wasn't the only one (raising funds) for me but he certainly seemed as a conduit, so I was very happy," Olmert said. He added that he never imagined that Talansky was lacking the "ability, honesty and professionalism that are required of those working in public positions."

 

He noted that "the positions that I hold today politically are not… I came a long way since those days."

 

Three affairs

Olmert's charges are composed of alleged misconduct in three different cases. In the first, known as the "Rishon Tours" affair, Olmert is accused of systematically double and triple billing public institutions and the state for trips that he took abroad. The prosecution claims that he used the money to finance family members' private trips.

 

In the second case, known as the "Talansky Affair," Olmert is accused of receiving over $600,000 from Talansky in return for the facilitation of the latter's business dealings in Israel. The prosecution claims that the funds were secretly managed by Messer, Olmert's partner and confidant.

 

The third case alleges Olmert's improper involvement with the Israel Investments Center during his tenure as industry and trade minister.

 

 

commentcomment   PrintPrint  Send to friendSend to friend   
Tag with Del.icio.us Bookmark to del.icio.us



 
7 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks
Please wait for the talkbacks to load

 

RSS RSS | About | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Terms of use | Advertise with us | Site Map

Site developed by  YIT Advanced Technology Solutions

 
פיקוד העורף התרעה במרחב:
    רשימת יישובים במרחב