David Friedland, a business partner of Morris Talansky, said in court on Tuesday for former prime minister Ehud Olmert's corruption trial that Talansky celebrated when former prime minister Ariel Sharon fell into a coma.

"I bet on the right guy," Friedland claimed Talansky said, when Olmert replaced Sharon. "The country is mine."

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Talansky, an New York businessman, has testified that he gave Olmert and his former aide Shula Zaken money, but contradicted himself in describing how much money and how many envelopes he transferred to them.

Friedland said that the two were in the office, reading Israeli news sites. He said he was sad to hear the news, but Talansky began to dance from joy.

"I told him to get out of here, that it's inappropriate," Friedland said. "His wife told him to 'get the hell out of here.' It was weird." Friedland added that the next day, Talansky told him that he'd been funding Olmert for years, and would buy him ties and cigars.


Friedland also said that "Talansky opened doors for us. He knew the whole world. He had a phone book that no one could compete with."

"He said that these politicians are corrupt," Friedland explained. "He said that he's connected to Olmert thorugh money. We weren't friends - there's a 40 year age difference between us. He just wanted to explain why he behaved the way he did."

Friedland also recalled that Talansky sent an envelope with $10,000 in cash to Olmert.

In reaction, Olmert's advisor Amir Dan said: "This is not backed up by any proof. It's strange that the prosecution brought a witness that is saying that the central withness, Talansky, is odd, a liar and not trustworthy."

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