Olmert corruption trial.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s political strategist Eyal Arad does not remember being told that Olmert had no skeletons in the closet, Arad said on Thursday.
Channel 10 reported that Arad asked Olmert’s longtime chief of staff Shula Zaken whether Olmert had skeletons in the closet when he took over as Kadima’s candidate for prime minister in 2006 following then-prime minister Ariel Sharon’s strokes.
According to the report, she lied to Arad and told him there was none. The statement was revealed by Olmert’s lawyers on Thursday during his retrial in the Talanksy Affair in the Jerusalem District Court, in order to prove that Zaken was a habitual liar whose testimony against him could not be trusted.
“While I don’t recall specifically asking that of Shula, it is a standard question I would ask my new clients when I start working with them,” said Arad, who has helped elect prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu, Sharon and Olmert. “It is normal to ask a politician if there are things I need to know.”
Had information about the Holyland, Talansky or Rishon Tours affairs been revealed, it is likely that Kadima would have run another candidate for prime minister, such as Tzipi Livni or Meir Sheetrit.
Arad said that although he has known Olmert since he was 16 years old, he had no idea that he had been involved in such political corruption.
Although Arad has not worked on a political campaign in five years, Olmert’s trial is not the first instance when Arad’s name has been dragged into a recent political-legal scandal.
His company’s logo appeared on a forged document that was the focus of the so-called Harpaz Affair.