The Jerusalem District Court on Monday sentenced Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
to one year's probation and ordered him to pay a NIS 75,000 fine, but did not sentence him to community service. This enables Olmert to run for the next Knesset elections.
"I leave court today with my head held up high," Olmert said after hearing the sentence. "As far as the failures of which I have been convicted, I accept the court's ruling and will draw the necessary lessons."
The court thus denied the State's motion for a punishment of six months of community service taking into
account the circumstances that led Olmert to resign his post as prime minister over his implication in other charges of which he was ultimately exonerated.
The court sentenced Olmert's former bureau chief, Shula Zaken, to nine months of probation and ordered her to pay a NIS 40,000 fine.
Olmert in court (Photo: Omer Meron)
Zaken had been convicted of two counts of fraudulently obtaining benefits and fraud and breach of trust in the Rishon Tours case.
Prosecutor Eli Abarbanel said Monday, "This is affair is not over" adding that the State Prosecutor's Office will now consider filing an appeal.
Last July, Olmert was found guilty of breach of trust in the Investment Center
case but was exonerated
of the majority of the corruption charges against him in the Rishon Tours
and Talansky Affair
Launched in 2007, the investigation focused on suspicions that Olmert was involved in political appointments in Israel's Small and Medium Enterprise Authority (SMEA) during his tenure as industry, trade and labor minister.
Olmert heads to court earlier today (Photo: Moti Kimhi)
"All of the aggravating circumstances are relevant both for the verdict and the sentence. We do rule out the possibility that in other circumstances an imprisonment sentence would have been appropriate," the judges said.
"But this case is very special indeed. The defendant had served as prime minister and two years into his term announced his resignation. The termination of his tenure is noteworthy – it was related both to the Talansky and Rishon Tours affairs."
Olmert and his attorney Navot Tel Zur (Photo: Omer Meron)
Nevertheless they noted that the breach of trust offence, of which Olmert had been found guilty, should not be labeled as a technical offence and should be taken very seriously.
Earlier this month, Olmert waived benefits for which he is eligible as a former prime minister to avoid being charged with moral turpitude. The prosecution stated that Olmert's decision to waive the benefits makes their motion redundant.
However, the prosecution did ask that Olmert receive a six month sentence which can be converted to community service and that he be put on probation and forced to pay a fine.
Moran Azulay contributed to this report