Talansky donations were legal, says Olmert’s defense

Trial of former prime minister resumes; prosecution alleges Olmert failed to report donations to the State Comptroller.

September 6, 2011 07:51
1 minute read.
Former PM Ehud Olmert in court [file photo]

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert with lawyer in court 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

The trial of former prime minister Ehud Olmert and his former bureau chief Shula Zaken resumed on Monday in the Jerusalem District Court.

At this stage, witnesses for the defense are being called to testify.

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Monday’s hearing focused on the “secret cashbox” that the prosecution allege Olmert kept between 2003- 2006.

The prosecution alleges Olmert failed to report donations, including those made by US businessman Moshe Talansky, to the State Comptroller, as required by law.

However, Olmert’s defense team told the court on Monday that according to a 1999 legal opinion by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, political donations made during “interim periods” between elections need not be reported.

Olmert’s defense argued that opinion proves political funds kept by Olmert and Messer were held legally, and there was no requirement to report them.

Neeman may now be called to testify in the trial as a defense witness, Channel 2 reported.

Ra’anan Dinur, the former head of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Tourism Ministry, also testified as a defense witness on Monday.

Among those also expected to testify over the next two weeks are lawyer Ram Caspi, whom Olmert consulted regarding Talansky, Olmert’s former campaign strategist, Roni Rimon, and Shaul Olmert, the former prime minister’s son.

Two donors who donated to Olmert’s campaign fund are also due to testify by video conference, but they will do so in closed-door hearings, in line with a gag order imposed on their identities at Olmert’s request.

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