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Olmert at court Photo: Motti Kimchi
Olmert at court Photo: Motti Kimchi
 
 

Police to question Olmert under suspicion of obstruction of justice

Former prime minister to face investigators on Sunday; businessman Alfred Akirov will also be questioned in the coming week.

Eli Senyor
Published: 04.05.14, 17:55 / Israel News

Less than a week after being convicted of corruption, former prime minister Ehud Olmert will be investigated Sunday at the Police Fraud Unit Lahav 433's offices under suspicion of obstruction of justice.

 

Olmert's conviction in the Holyland affair has led to the opening for a new investigation against him. He will be questioned following new evidence provided to the police by his former office manager Shula Zaken, who was expected to testify against him. Zaken gave the police a recording in which Olmert allegedly tries to persuade her not to sign a state witness agreement in the Holylad affair.

 

Other people who were also placed under investigation are lawyes and businessmen allegedly linked to the affair.

 

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On Friday, it was reported that businessman Alfred Akirov will also be called in for questioning in the coming week following Zaken's testimony.

 

During her trial, Zaken worked for Akirov and police will try to determine what the nature of their relationship was. Among other things, investigators will examine whether Zaken was hired by Akirov at Olmert's request, in light of the fact another friend of the former prime minister, businessman Daniel Abrams, aided Zaken with paying for her legal counsel.

 

In addition to Akirov, the police was expected to call other people in for questioning, among them legal figures. The police will also investigate a meeting in which attorney Navot Tel-Zur took part.

 

Alrov Group, founded by Akirov, said Friday: "Mrs. Shula Zaken was hired by the company to market events at our Jerusalem hotels (Mamilla Hotel and The David Citadel Hotel). Her employment ended in April 2013 and she received NIS 12,000 a month in return for her work."

 

Zaken gave a testimony to the police on Friday. Sources familiar with the investigation said that she "brought evidence and testimony on Olmert from prior to the Holyland affair."

 

Israel Anti Fraud Unit commander, brig.-gen. Efraim Bracha, met with the state prosecution and briefed them on the investigation.

 

Sources close to the investigation said Zaken provided police with recordings, documents and new evidence that are connected to other Olmert affairs. Zaken has probably kept hold of this evidence for years, and decided to bring them to light only recently.

 

Judge David Rosen criticized the prosecution's plea deal with Zaken during the Holyland verdict hearing.

 

"This is about one main figure, who took hundreds of thousands into her own pocket, and I'm not sure defendant 8 (Olmert) always knew about this. There were things she took for herself, an independent figure, that I would like to know exactly why you are asking (the court to accept the plea)," he told the prosecution.

 

Rosen said he will have to be convinced that that lighter punishment offered as part of the agreement (11 months in prison) include substantial evidence that would lead to conviction in the new investigation against Olmert.

 

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