Prosecution: Olmert to be indicted in 'Holyland' affair

By JPOST.COM STAFF
March 14, 2011 14:22

Prosecution announces intention to indict 18 suspects; Olmert denies wrongdoing, calls affair a "media circus," "Arabian Nights tale."

1 minute read.



Former prime minister Ehud Olmert

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert 311 R. (photo credit: Reuters)

The State Prosecutor on Monday announced its intention to indict former prime minister Ehud Olmert in the "Holyland" affair.

Olmert was expected to be charged with accepting bribes, in part of indictments filed against 18 people.

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A statement released through an Olmert spokesperson on Monday said that the former prime minister "has clearly stated that he never accepted bribes, neither directly nor indirectly and he stands behind this statement today." The spokesperson asserted that "no claims by the prosecution will change this fact."

The statement went on to classify the entire affair as a "media circus that began long before he was asked even one question," and as an "Arabian Nights tale born in the mind of the state's witness."


Other defendants in the indictments announced Monday were Olmert's former assistant Shula Zaken, former mayor of Jerusalem Uri Lupolianski, former chairman of Bank Hapoalim Dan Dankner, and a list of other suspects.

The State Prosecutor informed the suspects of their intention to indict them, pending a hearing.

The Justice Ministry said that following an opinion from the state prosecutor and state legal advisor on criminal matters, it decided to file bribery charges against Olmert, Zaken and Lupolianski.

In August 2010, Police recommended that state prosecutors indict Olmert and several additional suspects in the affair.

The former prime minister was questioned under caution three times in June and July of last year over suspicions that he accepted around a million shekels in bribes from real estate developers in exchange for supporting the Holyland construction project in southern Jerusalem.

During questioning, Olmert was shown a series of documents allegedly linking him to bribery, fraud and abusing public office during his tenures as Jerusalem mayor and minister of trade, industry and labor. He has denied all of the suspicions against him.

Yaakov Lappin and Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.


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