Olmert escapes two more investigations

By DAN IZENBERG
October 23, 2007 12:31

State attorney decides not to pursue allegations of bribery in two real estate deals conducted by PM.

1 minute read.



Olmert escapes two more investigations

Olmert booze 224 88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])

The Justice Ministry on Tuesday closed the preliminary examinations into complaints that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had sold one home in Jerusalem for above the market price and bought another one in Tel Aviv for below the market price. Both complaints were lodged by the watchdog organization Ometz. "After conducting a preliminary examination of your complaints, including a police examination into one of the transactions, the state attorney, with the agreement of the attorney-general, has concluded that there is not enough evidence to form a suspicion sufficient to open a criminal investigation," Deputy State Attorney Yariv Regev wrote to Ometz chairman Arye Avneri. The allegations regarding the house at 54 Shilo St. in Jerusalem's Nahlaot neighborhood were first raised by Channel 10 on September 11, 2006. According to the investigative report, Olmert sold the house for $650,000 to a wealthy American, Uri Harkam, in November 1996. Channel 10 said the sale price was $250,000 above the market value for the house at that time. Harkam sold the house four years later for NIS 450,000. He had contributed $25,000 to Olmert's party's election campaign in the 1993 municipal elections, the report added. The other affair was first reported by the Internet news site News First Class on September 25, 2006. According to that report, Olmert purchased an apartment in August 2004 in a housing development on Shenkin St. in Tel Aviv for $320,000. NFC maintained that the value of the apartment was $100,000 more than he paid and that two other apartments sold in the project at the same time had gone for $440,000 and a third for $410,000. Regev informed Avneri that even if the evidence in the case of the Jerusalem apartment had been more substantial, the statute of limitations applied to the affair and Olmert could not have been charged anyway. Olmert is currently under police investigation in four separate affairs: the tender for core control of Bank Leumi; the purchase of the Olmert home on Cremieux St. in Jerusalem's German Colony neighborhood; the favoritism he allegedly showed to his close friend, attorney Uri Messer, in the Investment Center; and alleged political appointments Olmert made in the Authority for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses.


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