Olmert arrives for police investigation

Ex-PM, chief suspect in Holyland scandal, arrives for police investigation.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
April 27, 2010 10:06
1 minute read.
Olmert poses for the media before reading a statem

Olmert reads statement 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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Former prime minster Ehud Olmert is due to arrive for police investigation Tuesday. Olmert is the chief suspect in the Holyland real estate scandal.

According to police suspicions, between 1999 and 2008, the Holyland development company and associated land development projects, then owned by businessman Hillel Charni, paid tens of millions of shekels in bribes to senior public decision makers in the Jerusalem Municipality, members of its planning and construction committee, the Israel Lands Administration and others.

In exchange, the officials allegedly granted approval for the Holyland housing project in the Malha neighborhood and additional developments in the North.

Police suspect that Olmert accepted bribes from businessmen and other interested parties.

Police suspect former prime minister Ehud Olmert of accepting large amounts of cash in bribes from businessmen backing the Holyland real estate development, and believe the funds were transferred via his former bureau head, Shula Zaken, it emerged during a remand hearing for Zaken on Monday evening.

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In related news police suspect Olmert’s former bureau head, Shula Zaken, was arrested on Monday afternoon after touching down at Ben-Gurion Airport from Los Angeles. She was taken for approximately half an hour of questioning at the National Fraud Unit headquarters in Lod before being brought to court.

According to the police representative to the court, Ch.-Supt. Lior Rice, Zaken acted as a “main pipeline” for bribe money destined for Olmert when the latter was Jerusalem mayor and minister of industry, trade and labor. During that time, she “had significant and decisive influence on procedures in the Jerusalem Municipality and the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry,” said Rice.

In addition, Zaken is suspected of “conspiring” with former Olmert aide attorney Uri Messer – who was arrested this month in connection with the Holyland investigation – to launder the funds “in sophisticated ways” by producing fictitious receipts to disguise the transfer.

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