State may yet decide to indict Messer

Former Olmert lawyer not off the hook for Talansky,Investment Center affairs.

By DAN IZENBERG
July 5, 2010 05:18
1 minute read.
Ori Messer

ori messer low quality 311. (photo credit: Channel 10 )

The state on Sunday indicated that it might change its mind and press charges against Uri Messer, former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s one-time attorney and close friend, regarding two of the matters for which Olmert is currently standing trial – the Talansky affair and the Investment Center affair.

Messer, who allegedly gave the police crucial information regarding Olmert’s conduct in both cases, was not charged in either one, even though he was deeply involved in both.

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Now, however, Messer is under investigation on suspicion of having accepted bribes, and passing additional bribes to Olmert, who was then mayor of Jerusalem, in the Holyland affair that broke several months ago. The affair is still under investigation and no charges have been pressed so far.

Olmert is suspected of having agreed to drastically increase the building rights of the owners of the Holyland site and change its land use to residential housing instead of tourism, thus increasing the value of the land.

Before the Holyland affair hit the headlines, and in the wake of the state’s decision not to indict Messer in the Talansky and Investment Center affairs, the watchdog organization Ometz petitioned the High Court of Justice, demanding that he be put on trial.

The state indicated on Sunday that it may yet do so.

“At this time, there is a broad police investigation that is connected also to the affairs referred to in the petition,” the state’s representative, attorney Tadmor Etzion, told the court. “So far, the investigation of the affair in all its aspects has not yet been completed and no decision has yet been taken regarding [Messer].”

In the Talansky affair, Messer is believed to have served as a private banker for Olmert, who allegedly received cash contributions from New York businessman Morris Talansky and perhaps from others and stashed them in Messer’s safe without declaring them to the tax authorities.

In the other affair, Olmert is accused of having given favorable treatment to entrepreneurs seeking government subsidies for industrial projects who were represented by Messer.


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