Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Photo: Omer Miron
Shula Zaken
Photo: Omer Miron
Olmert shrugs off double-billing charges
Former PM testifies about 'Rishontours' affair, denies asking for surplus funding. 'I would give a check when told to pay,' he says
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert testified before the Jerusalem District Court at his trial Monday, this time discussing the funding of his trips abroad while in office.


Regarding the "Rishontours" affair, in which Olmert is accused of systematically double and triple billing public institutions and the state for trips that he took abroad, the former PM stated that he did not

handle the booking. 


"Does anyone really think that an acting prime minister would sit down with a calculator and do the math?" he asked the court.


"If a mistake was in fact made, and it doesn't matter by whom, the number one man in responsible. But regarding personal liability in the sense of criminal intent to make a profit? Did I wish to defraud ALEH? AKIM?" Olmert asked emotionally.


Olmert said he was aware that he had to finance private trips on his own. Olmert claimed that at one point Shula Zaken, his bureau chief, told him he had accumulated a debt at "Rishontours."

Olmert at Jerusalem District Court (Photo: Omer Miron)


"I would give a check when I was told that I have to pay," he said. "I didn't deal with the calculations of how much it did or didn't cost."


'Was it a vacation?'

He also remarked that after he stopped being a lawyer, his family found itself in a tight financial situation. "We were always overdrawn," he said.


While addressing the issue of his trip to Rome, to wich he was accompanied by his wife, Olmert stated: "That trip should be funded by the office… I'm very sorry. I think something wasn't handled properly. Does anyone believe I should be paying for this trip with my own money? Is this a vacation?"


Regarding the alleged double and triple billing of public institutions, the former PM said: "The first time I heard about this was when they came to question me… and I had to resign as prime minster."



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