Messer off the hook for Holyland

The investigation affects the current trial of Olmert and his ex-aide Shula Zaken, regarding the so-called Talansky and Investment Center affairs, where Messer was due to be a crucial state’s witness.

By DAN IZENBERG
November 9, 2010 06:40
1 minute read.

It’s now final. The case against attorney Uri Messer, who was initially suspected of having taken bribes in the Holyland Affair for himself and his one-time close friend, former prime minister Ehud Olmert, has been closed.

The Justice Ministry spokesman said Monday there was not enough evidence to indict the Jerusalem-based lawyer.

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Messer was not on the list of suspects that police recommended for prosecution when they handed over evidence in the affair to the state prosecutor’s office, where final decisions are made on whom to indict.

It did not look like matters would end up this way when news of the scandal first broke in April. Messer was one of the first suspects to be linked to the affair. He was detained by police for questioning and was held in custody for several days. His lawyer, Shimon Dolan, insisted all along that his client was innocent.

The investigation affected the current trial of Olmert and his close associate, Shula Zaken, regarding the so-called Talansky and Investment Center affairs, where Messer was due to be a crucial state’s witness.

The trial was suspended while the Holyland investigation into Messer proceeded.

Had the state prosecution concluded that there was enough evidence to indict Messer over Holyland, he would not have been able to testify for the state in the current trial, and his name would likely have been added to that indictment.

As a result of the prosecution’s decision on Monday, the trial of Olmert and Zaken will be able to resume whenever the court decides.


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