Olmert. Last to be questioned
Photo: Haim Zach
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Fox. 'Suspend Olmert'
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Olmert's bribery probe opens

Following state prosecutor's recommendation, National Fraud Investigation Unit officers to begin investigating Bank Leumi affair. It is believed Olmert will be last to be interrogated

On Wednesday morning the National Fraud Investigation Unit's detectives will begin their fraud investigation of the sale of Bank Leumi's controlling shares and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's alleged bribery offenses in the sales tender.


A prior examination of the affair was conducted, and following the recommendation of Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, the police will request search warrants be issued in order to obtain documents and begin summoning interrogatees.


The police believe Olmert's interrogation will only take place towards the end of the proceedings, after all evidence is collected, so that they will be able to determine exactly if and how the prime minister is connected to attempts of twisting the tender in favor of his associates.


The investigation team in this affair is the same team that was appointed in the prior examination.


Menawhile, Attorney Yossi Fox appealed to Attorney General Mazuz Wednesday morning requesting he order Olmert's suspension following State Prosecutor Eran Shendar's decision that a criminal investigation be launched against Olmert over his alleged role in the affair.


"Since the allegations against Olmert are regarding his time as acting finance minister, this suspicion is of serious crimes, including bribery, and it is unreasonable that a prime minister with such a heavy cloud hovering over his head should continue in his position," said Fox's letter to Mazuz.


Jurists believe that if Mazuz does not respond to Fox's request, Fox may file a petition to the High Court of Justice as he did in the case of President Katsav, in order to force the attorney general to reveal his stance in the matter to the public.


In the past Mazuz has taking a harsh stance against anyone under criminal investigation, stating that such a person could not serve as internal security minister or justice minister, or should at least refrain from making decisions in certain areas.


PM Olmert will not be the first prime minister suspected of criminal activity, three other prime ministers have preceded him, namely: Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Areil Sharon.


Aviram Zino contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 01.17.07, 11:49
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