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Israeli court convicts Olmert in bribery case
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 01 - 04 - 2014

TEL AVIV – An Israeli court convicted former prime minister Ehud Olmert on Monday of accepting a six-figure sum in bribes linked to a real-estate deal, probably ending any prospects of a political comeback.
Olmert, a centrist credited internationally with working towards a peace settlement with the Palestinians, had denied wrongdoing in the Holyland apartment complex deal, which took place while he was in his previous post of Jerusalem mayor.
Two years ago, the veteran politician was acquitted of most of the major charges brought against him in separate cases involving his links to a US businessman – corruption accusations that forced his resignation as premier in 2008.
After what was the first bribery conviction of a former head of government in Israel, Olmert, 68, could face up to 10 years in prison.
A former president, Moshe Katsav, has been serving a seven-year prison term for rape since 2011.
Olmert will appeal the verdict, said his spokesman, Jacob Galanti. No date was immediately set for sentencing, and the appeals process is likely to take months to run its course. According to a summary of Monday's 700-page verdict provided by the Justice Ministry, Judge David Rozen found Olmert guilty of two bribery charges and said he accepted 560,000 shekels ($160,000) from developers of the Holyland project.
Prosecutors had alleged he received more than 800,000 shekels, but he was acquitted on two other corruption charges.
Handing down the verdict in Tel Aviv District Court, Rozen said the case “exposed governance that grew more corrupt and rotten over the years,” with bribes paid to public officials. – Reuters


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