Former prime minister Ehud Olmert (L) shakes hands with his defense minister, Ehud Barak.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Monday ordered police to investigate bribery allegations former prime minister Ehud Olmert made against former prime minister Ehud Barak in a taped conversation.
The decision came after an NGO asked Weinstein on Sunday to investigate taped allegations Olmert made sometime in 2007-2009 that his then defense minister Barak had taken millions of dollars in bribes as part of arms and weapons transactions.
The NGO’s letter to Weinstein followed Channel 10’s airing on Friday of taped conversations between Olmert and his then top aide, Shula Zaken, in which he tells her of the allegations.
Barak has denied the allegations.
Weinstein in his statement was careful not to draw conclusions, but said that since Olmert was taped without his knowledge there is an initial presumption of credibility to his allegations.
The attorney-general’s decision means that police will likely question Barak and Olmert.
The television station obtained audio recordings of Olmert’s conversations with Zaken, who last week testified against Olmert in the Talansky Affair retrial.
In the tapes, Olmert tells Zaken that Barak “has millions, tens of millions, stashed away in secret bank accounts in Switzerland, or somewhere,” which he allegedly illegally skimmed off weapons deals.
Olmert made no specific or concrete allegations, which could mean that in any serious investigation, police will have their work cut out for them.
The Movement of Citizens for Good Governance and Social and Legal Justice said that Weinstein needed to investigate the allegation.
Barak was Olmert’s defense minister from June 2007 until Olmert left office in March 2009, facing corruption charges.
Olmert was convicted and sentenced in March 2014 to six years in prison for his role in the Holyland real estate affair, regarding which he has filed an appeal.
In the taped conversations, Olmert appears to refer to former Mossad head Meir Dagan.
The NGO asked what Dagan may have reported to Olmert about Barak, whether there were any irregularities regarding that reporting and whether there was a lack of follow-up on the issue.
Weinstein’s decision, made public, settled a debate that had existed between Olmert’s team and Channel 10 as to whether the particular conversations in question were under gag order.
The conversations have not been brought up in the Talansky retrial in the Jerusalem District Court as they do not pertain to allegations against Olmert.
Channel 10 noted that there is no independent corroboration of Olmert’s allegations against Barak.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.