Court asks Olmert: Why charge US group for paid flight?

In 6th day of testimony, former PM grilled on allegations that he charged organization for flight paid for by Industry Trade and Labor Ministry.

June 14, 2011 14:04
1 minute read.
Ehud Olmert arrives at J'lem court for trial

Olmert arriving at trial 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert testified Tuesday for the sixth time at the Jerusalem District Court over his alleged double and triple booking of flights in what has become known as the Rishon Tours affair, named after a travel organization he often booked with.

In this round of questioning, Judge Yaakov Tzaban pressed Olmert on flight 11 in the indictment, taken November 2004 to the US, where the former prime minister allegedly received a refund from the American-Israel Friendship League (AIFL) for the flight despite it having been paid for by the Industry Trade and Labor Ministry. On that same trip, Olmert admitted to personally upgrading his seat to first class.

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Judge Tzaban asked Olmert why he had requested Rachel Rizby-Ray, his travel coordinator, to pay for his first class ticket in personal funds if he had accumulated the adequate frequent-flyer miles.

Judge Mosia Arad pressed Olmert further on the issue, asking the former prime minister why Rizby-Ray needed to arrange details on a flight paid for by the Industry Trade and Labor Ministry with him at all.

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Olmert responded that Rizby-Ray must have come to him because she was confused. He said that of the 70 flights he had booked with her, he remembers two such incidents where she sought his help.

The former prime minister allegedly received $9,600 from the US organization for that flight.

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