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Ex-Israeli PM convicted of old-time bribery
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted Monday at a Tel Aviv court in a corruption case dated back to the years when he was mayor of Jerusalem.
According to prosecutors, between 1993 and 2003, Olmer used his power as mayor to expedite construction processes of residential projects like the Holyland complex in Jerusalem in exchange for bribes from construction contractors.
He thus became the first former Israeli prime minister convicted of bribery and the conviction would put an end to Olmert's any attempt to return to politics as he hinted in the past.
Olmert was among 13 defendants in the Holyland trial, and 10 of the rest were also convicted on the same day by Judge David Rozen of the Tel Aviv District Court.
The Holyland trial has been going on for two years and is considered one of the most severe corruption affairs in the history of Israel.
The judge did not accept the prosecution's request to delay the rulings and hear a testimony from Olmert's former aide Shula Zaken, who signed a plea bargain with the prosecution and agreed to testify against him.
However, the prosecution would be able to seek another conviction on those charges later on in a different trial.
Ehud Olmert, who served as prime minister between 2006 and 2009, was forced to resign amid corruption allegations that started to surface against him in several cases. He was also indicted in two more cases of corruption and was acquitted.
Olmert was found not guilty in a case in July 2012, in which he was accused of receiving illegal donations from Jewish American businessman Moris Talansky.
In the "Rishon Tours Affair" he was also acquitted from all charges, including double-billing reimbursement from public organizations on behalf of which he spoke abroad.
Olmert was, however, convicted in another case of irregularities during his tenure as Industry, Trade and Labor Minister between 2003 and 2005.
He was accused of securing grants and tax breaks for a long-time colleague and close friend, attorney Uri Messer, and his clients.
[Source: Xinhua, Jerusalem, 31Mar14]
Informes sobre corrupción y crimen organizado
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