Alumot, the development company that owned the rights to the building in Jerusalem's German Colony where Prime Minister Ehud Olmert bought his latest home, has produced another witness who can testify that the company did not bribe Olmert to further its business needs, attorney Nevot Tel-Tzur told The Jerusalem Post Monday.
Alumot has already produced one witness who testified before State Comptroller Micha Lindenstraus that the company had offered him the same apartment for $100,000 less than Olmert paid one month later. Olmert paid $1.1 million.
According to allegations originating in an article published by journalist Yoav Yitzhak, Olmert purchased the home at 8 Cremieux St. for hundreds of thousands of dollars less than the market price. In return, the former mayor of Jerusalem allegedly helped Alumot increase it building rights despite severe construction restrictions imposed on the structure because it was classified as a preserved building.
According to Tel-Tzur, after Olmert had purchased the ground-floor apartment, a well-known Jerusalem lawyer considered buying one of two new apartments that were planned for the building on the assumption that Alumot would obtain the additional building rights. Tel-Tzur told the Post that Alumot did not inform the lawyer that it was Olmert who had bought the existing apartment even though he could have used that information to persuade the lawyer that Alumot would obtain the extra building rights through Olmert's influence. In the end, the lawyer decided not to buy because he was afraid Alumot would not succeed in increasing its building rights.
Tel-Tzur said the lawyer was also willing to testify on this matter before Lindenstraus.
The man who was allegedly offered Olmert's apartment for less money one month before Olmert bought it met with Lindenstraus between Yom Kippur and Succot. The man had already bought two apartments from Alumot in another preserved building in the German Colony-Old Katamon area in a deal similar to the Cremieux St. one. Alumot used the money the man paid for two existing apartments to purchase additional building rights for additional apartments. It apparently obtained the rights even though Olmert had nothing to do with the deal.
Lindenstraus is expected to publish his report on the house on Cremieux St. in the coming weeks.
According to Tel-Tzur, Lindenstraus had been ready to hand over his findings on the apartment to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz so that he could consider launching a criminal investigation. Tel-Tzur said he hoped the new evidence would change his mind.