Olmert - More questioning
Photo: GPO
Photo: Flash 90
Mazuz - He needs to make himself available
Photo: Flash 90
Olmert back in interrogation room next week
Prime minister's attorneys consent to new round of questioning on various corruption charges next Friday. Attorney General Mazuz admonished Olmert earlier, saying he no public official had ever made such difficulties for police investigators
Several hours after Attorney General Menachem Mazuz harshly criticized him for obstructing police investigation against him, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has agreed to another round of questioning at the hands of police interrogators investigating corruption allegations against him.


Olmert's legal team informed the police of their consent to meet next Friday for what will be the fourth such interrogation of the PM – however the police have yet to confirm the date.


For nearly a fortnight now the National Fraud Unit has been attempting to secure another session with Olmert, but to no avail.


In a response submitted to the High Court of Justice on Thursday evening in response to a petition demanding Olmert's suspension, Mazuz wrote: "The police has met considerable difficulties in setting dates to interrogate the prime minister and in setting the length of the sessions.


“These are difficulties never experienced in the past with other public officials (under investigation), particularly with past prime ministers,” said Mazuz.


"The prime minister needs to make himself available to the interrogators when asked to do so, in accordance with the investigation and within an appropriate amount of time," the attorney general wrote. 


“The situation in which a prime minister sits in office while multiple criminal investigations are being conducted against him is likely to raise questions regarding his ability to fill his post, both in regards to his ability to devote the necessary time and energy to his position under these circumstances and in regards to the damaging of the public’s trust.”


Mazuz submitted his opinion in response to the petition filed by journalist Yoav Yitzchak, who demanded the High Court suspend Olmert from office.


"At this juncture," Mazuz wrote, "the question of the prime minister’s suspension is not a judicial question bur rather one for the prime minister and for the political system.”


For nearly a fortnight now the National Fraud Unit has been attempting to secure another session with Olmert, but to no avail.


Olmert's was last questioned two weeks ago at his official residence in Jerusalem. The session lasted two hours. Law enforcement authorities told Ynet at the time that the police are aiming to complete the investigation against Olmert within several week's time, and that the interrogators had confronted the prime minister with evidence gathered in the United States.


Talansky: PM said money would be returned

Tuesday marked the end of the Morris Talansky’s five-day cross-examination at the Jerusalem District Court. Talansky is the key witness in the corruption case, in which Olmert is suspect.


During his last day on the stand, Talansky was asked about the money he gave to Olmert for flights and for accommodations at luxury hotels.


“Each time I would argue with him and say what do you need this for and that I don’t have any money. He always said, ‘I am requesting your help, I will return it,’ I believed him,” said Talansky on the witness stand.


Talansky is expected to return to Israel for further investigation by Olmert and Shula Zaken’s attorneys, in a second round of investigation on August 31 and September 1.


During Talansky’s investigation, Olmert’s attorneys turned to Mazuz and demanded that he instruct the police about the beginning of an investigation regarding recent leaks to the media involving information sensitive to the case.


This demand came after complete texts from the prime minister’s investigation and that of his son, Shaul Olmert, were published in the media. Prior to this however, Olmert's own attorneys released footage of Talansky’s police interrogation.


Aviad Glickman contributed to this report


First published: 07.24.08, 20:12
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