"I'm scared you will go up to the witness stand. Not because of me, because of you," said former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to his estranged aide Shula Zaken in a recording released on Monday by Israel's Channel 10 news.
Zaken is now serving an 11-month prison sentence that began last month as part of a plea bargain she made with prosecution that allowed new charges to be brought against the former prime minister.
The Talansky trial, named for Morris Talansky, an American Jewish businessman suspected of funneling illegal funds to Olmert, was reopened on Monday morning, two years after Olmert's acquittal.
The Talansky affair concerned claims that Olmert received funds in cash from Talansky, did not report the funds to the state comptroller, and then hid them in attorney Uri Messer's safe.
Zaken was escorted from the Neve Tirza women's prison to the witness stand on Monday morning. Her testimony enabled the declassification of recordings which were aired by Israel's Channel 10 News and include conversations between Zaken and Olmert regarding the Talansky and Holyland trials.
New recordings released Monday:Shula Zaken: "Come on, come on, you asked me, what could I have said? That I came to work and Ehud wanted to take my salary that was not good so he offered me 30,000 shekel?"
Ehud Olmert: "You asked me, I didn't offer."
Zaken: "No way, you offered me Ehud. What are you talking about? We sat at the David Citadel Hotel, you said, 'what worries you is that you'll have a year (salary),' and you gave me the amount of how much it would be per month, you added it to my salary and I got a salary I liked."
Olmert: "I don't want to argue with you…"
Zaken: "Are you normal? I didn't say that to you?"
Olmert: "You offered it and I agreed to it, I'm not arguing about it. I just don't remember that I ever asked you to write it in your computer."
Zaken: "With that you are correct."
Olmert: "With that everything started."
The newly unveiled tapes could prove that Olmert made personal use of funds deposited in the safe of attorney Uri Messer and later pressured Zaken not to testify against him in the Talansky trials and not to hand over her journal as evidence.
Olmert was acquitted by the Jerusalem District Court in 2012, because of remaining doubt that the former prime minister believed his funds were being used for personal needs.
Olmert's associates claim that only half of the recordings are related to the Holyland affair, and that the former prime minister has answers to all the allegations that are likely to arise from the declassification of his recorded conversation with Zaken.
Olmert claims he did not stop his former aide from testifying, but rather advised her not to do so for her own personal benefit. Furthermore, Olmert maintains that all the talks about fiscal matters in the tapes coincide with his testimony because they were used politically.
Olmert could also argue that Zaken emotionally manipulated him in order to elicit incriminating phrases.