Fraud investigation unit deputy named to head PM probe

Earlier, A-G Menahem Mazuz ordered a criminal investigation against Olmert in connection with the Cremieux Street purchase.

By MARK WEISS, DAN IZENBERG
September 25, 2007 22:23
1 minute read.
olmert thinking 88

olmert 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Asst.-Cmdr. Nahum Levy, the deputy head of the Israel Police's National Fraud Investigation Unit, will head the criminal investigation into Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's purchase of a house on Jerusalem's Cremieux Street. The National Fraud Investigation Unit was put in charge of the police probe on Tuesday by Intelligence and Investigations Division chief Cmdr. Yohanan Danino. On Monday, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz ordered a criminal investigation against Olmert in connection with the 2004 purchase. It is still not clear when police will question the prime minister, who allegedly bought the apartment in Jerusalem's German Colony neighborhood at a reduced price in return for granting favors to the contractor. In a related development, police announced on Tuesday that Olmert would be questioned after Succot as part of a separate criminal probe into the 2005 sale of Bank Leumi. Olmert, who was finance minister at the time, is suspected of intervening of behalf of an Australian business associate. Meanwhile, in an interview with the daily Globes newspaper, outgoing State Attorney Eran Shendar said the evidence against Olmert in the Bank Leumi investigation was not based solely on the testimony of Finance Ministry Accountant-General Yaron Zelekha. Zelekha was a key witness in the investigation and gave evidence to both State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss and the police. Shendar was also asked why the prosecution had not yet closed the bribery investigations against former prime minister Ariel Sharon and Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman after so many years. "If we are presented with clear indications that very senior officials in the system received large 'returns' - and I am talking about millions of dollars, without a satisfactory explanation - from businessmen living abroad via straw companies and all kinds of overseas bank accounts, and these arouse substantial suspicion of corruption-related crimes, can we close the files [without fully investigating these leads], or is it our duty to try and find out the truth?" he responded.


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