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Former prime minister Ehud Olmert Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
 
 

Olmert under investigation for obstruction of justice in Holyland case

Police opens investigation after Olmert's former aide Shula Zaken provided state prosecutor with recordings allegedly incriminating the former prime minister.

Naama Cohen-Friedman
Published: 03.27.14, 20:23 / Israel News

The Israel Anti Fraud Unit said Thursday that it is investigating former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who is suspected of obstructing justice and witness tampering.

 

A judge in the Rishon LeZion magistrates' court partially removed a gag order placed on the investigation, hours after the state prosecutor signed a plea bargain with Olmert's former aide Shula Zaken.

 

As part of the plea deal, Zaken will serve 11 months in prison for her involvement in the Holyland case, and will testify against the man for whom she worked for some 30 years.

 

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Earlier Thursday, the state prosecutor has asked Judge David Rosen to postpone the verdict against Olmert and Zaken, expected to be given in four days.

 

As part of the plea bargain, the state prosecutor has agreed to rescind its appeals against her in the Rishon Tours case and in the Talansky case, both still awaiting court decisions.

 

The state prosecutor "has asked to apologize to the court for the late date this request has been submitted. This date was a result of the late date the accuser was exposed to the new evidence, as well as the need to take a detailed account of the accused's testimony on the new evidence ... and from the need to reach an agreement with her that will allow an evidentiary use in the material she provided."

 

Zaken was questioned for four days in a row, and the state prosecutor is asking to put her on the stand again in two weeks to testify against Olmert, as well as provide the new evidence in the case. This evidence includes a recording of Olmert allegedly trying to obstruct the investigation by attempting to convince Zaken not to sign a state witness agreement.

 

The state prosecutor said the new evidence is of outmost importance to the Holyland case, and that time must be given for the newly-opened investigation to conclude and to allow the prosecution time to prepare for Zaken's testimony.

 

Olmert, the state prosecutor said, must be investigated before Zaken's testimony against him.

 

In light of the state prosecutor's request, Judge David Rosen has asked all sides on the case to respond to the request by Sunday at 4pm.

 

Zaken's plea deal can affect both the Holyland trial and any future charges against Olmert. If the state prosecutor is able to indict Olmert for obstruction of justice, Zaken's will become a state witness. In such a case she could not be charged.

 

Gilad Morag contributed to this report.

 

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