Moshe Talansky confirmed to police that he transferred $30,000 to former Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert’s brother, Yossi, in November 2004, during a Tuesday
hearing in the trial of Olmert and his close aide, Shula Zaken.
focused for the first time in several months on the Talansky affair and the
charges that Olmert received large sums of money from the American- Jewish
businessman in cash, checks and bank transfers over several years.
Talansky contradicts himself over cash
Rishontours: Risby-Raz says no chance of fair trial
witness who testified was David Friedland, an Israeli- American, who was
Talansky’s partner in a New York-based business venture called Kool- Tech that
sold minibars to hotels. Their partnership began in 2005, but Talansky was
forced out when became embroiled in a legal battle.
between Talansky and Yossi Olmert emerged indirectly, when sources close to
Olmert revealed the transcript of a police interrogation of Talansky that took
place on May 24.
It came in the wake of testimony by Friedland to police,
which largely included a description of Talansky’s conduct during the period the
two men knew each other.
According to the transcript, the police
presented Talansky with a copy of a bank transfer for $30,000 from his bank to
Yossi Olmert at Mizrahi Bank.
Before presenting the transfer, the
interrogators questioned him about his connection with Yossi Olmert.
have none,” replied Talansky.
“I don’t know him. I never met him. I never
saw him…I never spoke to him. I had no connection with him at all.”
whether Ehud Olmert had ever asked him to help his brother, Talansky replied,
He never spoke about his brother.”
After the interrogators
presented him with a copy of the bank transfer, Talansky said, “I see the
document. I don’t remember this transfer. Olmert must have given me the money to
transfer or something...
I had no business giving Yossi Olmert
Yossi Olmert’s name has been linked to another corruption
affair allegedly involving his brother, Ehud – the Holyland scandal. There have
been reports that Ehud Olmert used some of the bribe money he allegedly received
from the Holyland developers to help him repay his debts.
In response to
the disclosure by the sources close to Olmert of the police investigation
transcript, the Justice Ministry spokesman issued the following statement: “The
prosecution is surprised that a testimony that the defense was opposed to
presenting to the court found its way to the media soon after the hearing (and
actually during the hearing).
The testimony was given solely to the
defense for the purposes of conducting the trial. In these circumstances, the
dissemination of the raw evidence, which has not been submitted to the court, is
During Friedland’s testimony, the prosecution tried to obtain
information from him about Talansky’s ties with Olmert.
The witness said
that in January 2006, as Kool-Tech employees watched a television program
reporting that then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had suffered his second stroke
and that Olmert would become acting prime minister, “Moshe Talansky started to
“It was a surrealistic scene,” testified Friedland. “He danced
on the tables and was ecstatic.
It was sad to see so I threw him out of
the office and told him to go home. It was inappropriate to do what he did. It
was an unpleasant scene.”
Friedland then said that a few days later,
while the two were driving somewhere, Talansky tried to mollify Friedland, whom
he knew was mad at him.
“He told me about his ties with Olmert,” the
“How they got to know each other was when he was
fundraising for Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center and the Jerusalem Fund and Olmert
was serving as mayor of Jerusalem.
“You have to understand me,” Talansky
said according to Friedland. “All these years I’ve been supporting Olmert,
funding him. When he comes to New York, I buy him cigars and ties. He likes the
According to Friedland, Talansky told him, “I bet on the
right horse. All politicians have their hands in someone’s
Olmert’s lawyer, Nevot Tel- Tzur interrupted Friedland’s
testimony to remind the court that the witness and Talansky were on bad
Friedland went on say that he and his partner never got along
well, but that the final break came when he was told by his son-in-law and by
the secretary Sabrina Bicic, who was allegedly directly involved, that Talansky
had brought an envelop of money into the office, asked Bici to count it and then
had it sent by Fed-Ex to Olmert’s office in Israel. The envelop contained
$10,000, he said.
Friedland added that he had blasted Talansky for
involving Kool-Tech in his relations with Olmert, including sending the envelop
at the company’s expense.
During cross-examination, Tel-Tzur pointed out
that Bicic had denied Friedland’s description of these events during testimony
before the US Federal Bureau of Investigation on July 8, 2008.
does not specifically recall Talansky ever mentioning the name Ehud Olmert,”
read the testimony summary.
“Bicic does not specifically recall a Federal
Express envelop or package that was sent by Kool-Tech to Ehud Olmert in
The defense attorney was in a complicated situation. On the one
hand, he wanted to prove to the court that Friedland was an unreliable witness
when it came to his testimony that incriminated Olmert. On the other hand, he
wanted to stress that it was reliable when it came to Friedland’s allegations
against Talansky – the state’s key witness in this affair.
Friedland’s story about the alleged Fed-Ex envelop, Olmert’s public relations
team wrote, “This is a hallucinatory story. If someone wants to send money
illegally, he won’t do it in a Fed- Ex envelop which is documented and
registered, and he won’t send the envelop to a minister’s office, where it will
be opened by the secretary in front of everyone. Furthermore, the police could
not prove this ridiculous claim.
The secretary of Kool-Tech, and the
secretaries in the minister’s office all said in their testimony that nothing
like this ever happened, as did the Fed-Ex delivery person in the Ministry of
Industry, Commerce and Employment.”
As for Friedland, Olmert’s team
wrote, “By bringing Friedland today, the state prosecution has turned the trial
into a circus in which it is not the facts that speak but tall stories that
belong around the campfire rather than in court.”