Ehud Olmert 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert, during his seventh day in the witness box on
Thursday, denied ever demanding cash bribes from American philanthropist Moshe
Olmert also said that Talansky’s testimony that he had lent
Olmert tens of thousands of dollars was nothing but a made up fantasy and
figments of his imagination.
“This whole story about loans is a fantasy
for which I have no explanation. I don’t have a shred of doubt that nothing of
the sort happened,” Olmert said.
Olmert is accused of having received
hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from Talansky in what’s been dubbed
“the envelopes affair.”
According to the indictment, Talansky gave Olmert
the money as a personal loan, money that Olmert allegedly stashed away unreported to the tax authority.
Olmert said he received money from
Talansky in the form of campaign donations, travel expense returns and legal aid
assistance, but rejected the state’s claim that the money was given as a
“Talansky made sure that it was known that if you want access to
Olmert, you have to go through him. I don’t know if he derived any benefit from
that, but it made him more important,” Olmert said.
Responding to his
lawyers’ questions regarding a specific $25,000 loan from Talansky which Olmert
was accused of hiding, the former prime minister said, “This never
This is a totally baseless claim.” He added, “Talansky is
saying things that are makebelieve, they are nonsense.”
He also denied
Talansky’s testimony that Olmert had demanded that he transfer money to him only
in cash form, pointing to several occasions in which the money was transferred
by check or a bank transfer. He hinted that Talansky made this accusation
because he was pressured to do so by the investigators, at which point the
judges asked him to refrain from making claims about the police.
told of how he met Talansky and got to know him as an effective fundraiser when
he was raising money for his Jerusalem mayoral campaign.
denied that Talansky was one of his major contributors.
his relationship with Talansky, saying, “We had a personal relationship. I was
grateful to him. He has charm, he is communicative, a social man, he knows how
to make contacts, how to talk, how to show appreciation.
There was a
On Thursday morning, Olmert wrapped his testimony on
the Rishon Tours affair, in which he was accused of double billing philanthropic
organizations for his travel expenses and using the excess funds to sponsor
flight tickets for his family and upgrades for himself.
After six days –
over the last three weeks – of delivering testimony on the matter, in which he
adamantly denied having any knowledge of the way his flights were paid for by
his office staff, Olmert concluded by stating that though he wasn’t blaming his
travel coordinator Rachel Rizby Raz for any improprieties, he admitted that
mistakes had been made which in retrospect he shouldn’t have allowed.