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Police arrive at Pm's residence
Photo: Oriyah Tadmor

Police grill Olmert in corruption case for third time

Investigators question PM at his official Jerusalem residence for two hours, focus on evidence gathered in US. Police say session was 'tense', hope probe into 'cash envelopes' affair will be concluded within weeks

Israeli police investigators arrived at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's official Jerusalem residence Friday morning and questioned the prime minister under warning for roughly two hours about corruption suspicions, the latest development in a case that could force him out of office.

 

Law enforcement officials told Ynet that during the questioning a great deal of tension was visible between Olmert and the interrogators. A source close to Olmert said however that the questioning session was conducted in a “relaxed and calm” manner.

 

The interrogators arrived at the prime minister’s residence a little after 9 am and immediately began preparing for the questioning that began at 10 am. They finished shortly after the expected completion time, at approximately 12:30 pm.

 

During the questioning, Olmert was asked about issues that were not previously discussed and was compelled to answer.

 

Right-wing activists protested outside Olmert’s home and criticized police conduct which they claimed was not sufficient considering the suspicions.

 

This was the third time the Israeli leader was questioned in a case centering on money he had allegedly received from an American Jewish businessman.

 

Morris Talansky testified in May that he gave Olmert hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash-stuffed envelopes, and that some of those funds went to fund expensive cigars, hotels and other extravagances.

 

The testimony sparked a public outcry, further tarnishing a prime minister who has faced four previous police investigations since he was elected two years ago.

 

The interrogators arrived at the prime minister’s residence a little after 9:00 am and immediately began preparing for the questioning that began at 10:00 am. They finished shortly after the expected completion time, at approximately 12:30 pm.

 

During the questioning, Olmert was asked about issues that were not previously discussed and was compelled to answer.

 

Right-wing activists protested outside Olmert’s home and criticized police conduct which they claimed was not sufficient considering the suspicions.

 

Olmert to resign if indicted

Olmert's political rivals have begun the process of holding internal primaries that could replace him as leader of his party, Kadima, by the end of September.

 

The PM has denied any wrongdoing but has said he would resign if indicted.

 

Police officials said they hope to conclude the investigation within a number of weeks. The National Fraud Unit investigators reportedly questioned Olmert on evidence they had gathered in the US.

 

The State Prosecutor's Office told Olmert's attorney that police have gathered substantial material indicating that the PM significant sums of money from Talansky, and not a few hundred dollars as was recently published.

 

On Thursday Olmert met his attorney in preparation for the police interrogation. An associate of the prime minister told Ynet that "as was the case in the previous rounds of questioning, Olmert will answer all of the investigators' questions.

 

Talansky's cross-examination is expected to begin this coming Thursday and go on for five days, but Olmert’s attorneys have already announced that they will need additional time in order to complete the interrogation of the key witness. 

 


פרסום ראשון: 07.11.08, 10:07
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