Police: Indict Olmert in Holyland affair
Head of police's investigations unit hands inquiry file in corruption affair to state prosecutor, with recommendation to file serious indictments against former prime minister, his bureau chief, former Bank Hapoalim Directorate chairman. Olmert's media advisor: Police hiding information from public
The police also recommended charging former Bank Hapoalim Directorate Chairman Danny Dankner with bribery and tax offenses. The police found no evidence against Olmert's former associate, Attorney Uri Messer.
According to the police, Olmert's former bureau chief Shula Zaken should be charged with taking a bribe, bribery mediating and breach of trust. Former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, who served as head of the District Planning and Construction Committee, should be charged – according to the police – with taking a bribe, fraud and breach of trust.
Another recommendation was to charge former Israel Land Administration head Yaakov Efrati with fraud and breach of trust, and businessman Hilel Cherney – one of the Holyland owners – with bribery, fraud, breach of trust, disrupting investigation proceedings, money laundering, tax offenses and false registration.
Head of the police's investigations unit, Commander Yoav Segalovich, handed the inquiry file to State Prosecutor Moshe Lador. The economic and taxation department at the State Prosecutor's Office will look into the evidence in the coming months and decide whether to file indictments against the suspects in the affair.
Olmert in court. 'Recommendation has no real meaning' (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Olmert's media advisor said Monday morning that the police had informed the former prime minister of their decision.
The advisor, Amir Dan, called on the police to "stop hiding information from the public" and lift the gag order in regards to the state witness in the affair. "It's important that the public know the problematic details relating to the figure the police are relaying on so much," he said.
According to the media advisor, "Olmert stated in the most explicit way that he has never taken a bribe, neither directly nor indirectly. It's not surprising, because after the police have been creating biased headlines for months, they don't have the public courage to close the case.
"The police's recommendation has no real meaning, as the police have no responsibility in this matter apart from the headlines they create for themselves."
Olmert's former aide Uri Messer responded to the police recommendation during a press conference Monday afternoon. "As I have said all along, I had and have nothing to do with this affair," he said.
Former Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Yehoshua Polak said the police's recommendation to indict him as well was the result of the media coverage of the affair.
"I know and it is clear to me that I never took a brine and that I always worked for entrepreneurs at the municipality," he said several hours after the police recommended charging him for bribery, fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and tax offenses. He added that he was innocent and that "there is still hope."
'Ugly real estate monster'The Holyland affair, which was defined as a judge as "one of the most serious corruption cases in the State's history," was revealed four months ago after the State Prosecutor's Office asked the court to change the order of affairs in Olmert's trial due to new information. "One investigation touches on another," Judge Moussia Arad said before approving the request.
The affair focuses on alleged bribes paid to senior officials, including then-Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, in exchange for advancing real estate projects, among them the Holyland housing project in the capital, which was defined by a judge as "an ugly real estate monster."
Police suspect that Olmert received hundreds of thousands of shekels from businessmen as part of the affair.
Other suspects in the affair include Olmert's former bureau chief, Shula Zaken, Olmert's former associate, Attorney Uri Messer, former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, Holyland developer Hillel Cherney, businessman Danny Dankner, former Israel Land Administration head Yaakov Efrati, former Jerusalem City Engineer Uri Shetrit, and many others.
Aviel Magnezi, Ari Galahar and Ronen Medzini contributed to this report
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