It is now official – Ehud Olmert denies the allegation made against him. At the start of the trial last September, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert denied the allegations made against him on the stand. On Monday, he issued his official and final response to the indictment issued against him.
His lawyer, Attorney Eli Zohar, submitted his statement. "I would like to take the opportunity of this day to make a comprehensive denial of all the allegations made against Olmert in the indictment," said Attorney Zohar.
Olmert's then bureau chief, Shula Zaken, who is being put on trial along with him, also plans on denying the claims made against her. "I have placed my trust in the Holy One. It is with this faith that I come before the court," said Zaken on Monday upon arriving for the hearing.
Olmert arriving in court Monday (Photo: Guy Asayag)
The harsh indictment issued against the two addresses three separate incidents of alleged corruption: the Talansky case, the Rishontours case, and the investment center case. Olmert has been indicted in all three cases, while Zaken has been indicted in the first two, as well as for illegally wiretapping her boss.
They are being charged with fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate records and tax evasion, as well as a charge of fraudulently obtaining benefits to which the State attributes aggravated circumstances. Olmert ultimately was not charged with accepting a bribe even though the police recommended that this charge be included in the indictment for his alleged involvement in the Talansky case.
The Prosecution claimed in the indictment that Olmert and Zaken "maliciously abused Olmert's lofty public status and position for continual and systematic activities to gain financial benefits for Olmert."
Olmert said on the stand in September: "I come here as an innocent man, and I believe I will leave here as an innocent man." The testimonial stage of the trial will start on February 22, 2010. Hearings will be held three times a week on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Zaken is being tried in an additional case – corruption in the tax authorities. Zaken has said she is innocent in this case as well.