The Jerusalem District Court granted Friday Attorney General Menachem Mazuz's request to take deposition from Moshe Talansky, an American businessman believed to have transferred funds to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during the latter's tenure as Jerusalem mayor and as industry, trade and labor minister.
State Prosecutor Moshe Lador told the court that Talansky "has expressed his concern to a police officer that Olmert might send someone to hurt him."
The court noted that "while the state prosecutor stressed that it is inconceivable to attribute to any of the respondents the intent to influence the witness or deter him from giving testimony, given the subjective feeling of the witness, there's a concern that this might dissuade him from testifying."
A date for the deposition has not been scheduled at this time.
According to Lador, "Time might weaken the witness' willingness to testify freely, particularly in view of the testimony being against someone with whom he's been on friendly terms with for years."
Olmert is suspected of unlawfully accepting, directly and indirectly, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from one or more foreign nationals beginning in 1993, when he first ran for the office of mayor of Jerusalem and then during his tenure as industry, trade and labor minister.
'Olmert affair blown out of proportions'
"The media carnival" surrounding the recent investigation against Olmert "is inappropriate," legal sources familiar with the case told Ynet Friday, adding that much of the reports on the matter are inaccurate or just plain false.
"There is exaggerated dramatization by the media at a stage where it's still unclear how things will develop," one source said. According to him, a more cautious and thorough examination of the evidence is needed before any final verdict could be delivered regarding the affair's severity.
The source also stated that reports regarding alleged bribes received by the PM totaling millions of shekels were exaggerated as well. "We're not talking about millions of shekels. Many of the reports are problematic, and there are many examples for this."
Meanwhile, officials in the legal system told Ynet Friday that another round of interrogations in the affair was scheduled to begin in the coming days. Olmert's former bureau chief Shula Zaken will likely be questioned again, while the prime minister himself was only due to be reinvestigated at a later stage.
Efrat Weiss contributed to the report