Olmert: I never dealt with the price of flights

Former prime minister testifies in Rishontours corruption trial: "Nobody ever heard me ask anyone to amass extra money for me."

June 6, 2011 12:37
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 at his Rishontours corruption trial at Jerusalem District Court on Monday, saying he "never dealt with the small accounting issues," such as the price of airline tickets.

Olmert is accused of an alleged scam in which charities providing funding for his flights abroad were being double and triple-billed during his tenure as prime minister.

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"Nobody ever heard me ask anyone to amass extra money for me," Olmert said during the trial, adding that he had not heard about anything connected with the Rishontours affair before investigators approached him. Olmert stated that his bureau chief Shula Zaken would tell him when he owed money to the Rishontours travel agency and he would pay it. He believed he was paying for his private trips.

Olmert denied having any direct contact with the manager of the Rishontours travel agency. "I thought the  agency gave me efficient travel related service. That is where it started and ended."

The former prime minister claimed to have known only of personal business with the Rishontours agency, but was not aware that they were handling trips taken as part of his job as prime minister or in dealings with charities funding his flights.

Olmert said that his flights were supposed to be paid for under conditions that everyone was aware of and that he believed his family was eligible to fly using frequent flier miles he accumulated on flights paid for by charity organizations.

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