Former PM Olmert seeks deal to wrap up all remaining legal troubles

Olmert faces 18 months in prison from the Holyland Affair, a potential additional 8 months from the Talansky Affair and more time from the Rishon Tours and Investment Affairs.

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January 11, 2016 22:10
2 minute read.
Ehud Olmert

Former PM Ehud Olmert . (photo credit: AMIT SHABAY/POOL)

 
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Former prime minister Ehud Olmert has moved for a deal with the state prosecution to wrap up all his many remaining legal troubles, his spokesman indicated Monday.

Olmert faces 18 months in prison for the Holyland Affair, a potential additional eight months for the Talansky Affair and potentially more time from the Rishon Tours and Investment Affairs, in addition to a possible indictment for obstructing justice in all these cases.

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Discussions are being held with the aim of agreeing to a set amount of prison time he would serve for all the remaining cases, so as to save him and the prosecution time on further trials and appeals to the Supreme Court and possibly spare him any additional prison sentences.

Olmert’s spokesman said his lawyer Eyal Rozovsky “made an inquiry to the prosecution with the purpose of having a meeting regarding the continuing proceedings, and until this moment no meeting has been scheduled.” In May, the Jerusalem District Court sentenced Olmert to eight months in prison following his conviction in the Talansky Affair retrial, one of three violations he was accused of in the Jerusalem corruption trial.

The Talansky case consisted of Olmert illegally receiving, using and concealing at least $153,950 in envelopes from New York businessman Morris Talansky between 1993 and 2002.

Olmert is already set to become the first prime minister in the country’s history to go to jail, on February 15.

The sentence for the Talansky Affair was his second jail term following another 18 months he is due to serve for Holyland real estate case, which the Supreme Court reduced on appeal, from an initial six-year sentence.

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But the state has appealed other cases in which Olmert has been acquitted, such as the Talansky Affair and the Rishon Tours Affair.

In the case of Rishon Tours, Olmert had been accused of double-billing organizations for reimbursements for international flights, and the state has appealed the verdict that found him innocent of these charges.

The Talansky Affair retrial came out of the state’s appeal of Olmert’s July 2012 acquittal to the Supreme Court, with the Supreme Court sending the case back to the district court for a retrial in summer 2014.

In the lesser Investment Affair, Olmert was convicted of granting of favors in his capacity as a minister to his confidante Uri Messer, despite a conflict of interest. Olmert received a sentence of six months community service, which the state has also appealed.

A Supreme Court order for a retrial of these cases came after shocking new recordings emerged last year suggesting Olmert may have been illegally plotting with his former aide of 30 years, Shula Zaken, regarding the handling of his original trial.

Zaken refused to testify in the first trial and perjured herself on Olmert’s behalf during the Holyland trial, without letting on about the existence of the recordings until these cases were being appealed, and she became embroiled in negotiating a separate deal with prosecutors.

Without a plea bargain, Olmert may face additional jail time if the Supreme Court reverses his Rishon Tours Affair acquittal.

Olmert could also face a new indictment for plotting with Zaken to lie and otherwise mislead the court in previous trials.•

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