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Olmert. To meet investigators
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky

Olmert to be questioned Tuesday in Holyland affair

Police summon former prime minister, weeks after corruption affair cleared for publication. He is suspected of taking NIS 1 million in bribes. Olmert's media advisor: Police turning entire matter into show

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will be questioned in the Holyland corruption affair on Tuesday.

 

Olmert, who is not considered the main suspect in the affair – but definitely the most senior suspect, has been summoned to the National Fraud Unit's offices in Lod.

 

Olmert's media advisor, Amir Dan, confirmed that the former premier had been summoned for an interrogation on Tuesday. "After six weeks of groundless and baseless leaks, the police have finally found the time to look into the claims with Olmert himself and give him the opportunity to address each claim," the advisor said on Monday.

 

"Olmert has made it clear more than once that he has never been offered a bribe and has never taken a bribe, not directly and not indirectly. It's very sad that the police had to leak the summons and turn the entire matter into a show."

 

According to the police, the former prime minister is suspected of taking NIS 1 million (about $260,000) in bribes from the contractors of the Holyland real estate project in Jerusalem, which he allegedly received from his former bureau chief, Shula Zaken.

 

May be confronted with state witness

Police officials estimated that Olmert will be questioned several times as part of the investigation into the Holyland affair. He may even be confronted with the state witness in the case, whose identity is still shielded under a gag order.

 

Omlert, who will be questioned under warning, will be presented with questioned related to suspicions that he took bribes through the mediation of Zaken and his longtime confidante Uri Messer.

 

Police suspect that during his tenure as mayor of Jerusalem, Olmert aggressively promoted the real estate project in exchange for money, though they do not believe he received the money directly.

 

Investigators will also present Olmert with documents and testimony provided by the state witness, which detail how Olmert allegedly received the bribe money. The former PM will be asked to explain the content of a meeting he held with the state witness at City Hall. Eyewitnesses verified to police that such a meeting had in fact taken place.

 

Sources close to Olmert demanded that the state witness' identity be revealed, as the former PM said he had tried to extort him in the past.  

 

Police said they would not hesitate to send Olmert to house arrest if needed.

 

Zaken has already been arrested and questioned, but Olmert was not summoned for weeks after the affair was cleared for publication. His successor as Jerusalem mayor, Uri Lupolianski, has been placed under house arrest after being arrested and questioned in the affair.

 

The former prime minister has declared several times in recent weeks that he has never taken a bribe. He even called on the police repeatedly to question him in order to give him a chance to confute the suspicions, and accused the police of lying and launching a "witch hunt" against him.

 

Eli Senyor contributed to this report

 


פרסום ראשון: 05.24.10, 20:23
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