Former prime minister Ehud Olmert 311 R.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The State Prosecutor on Monday announced its intention to indict former prime minister Ehud Olmert in the "Holyland" affair.
Olmert was expected to be charged with accepting bribes, in part of indictments filed against 18 people.
Messer off the hook for Holyland
Police recommend Olmert indictment
A statement released through an Olmert spokesperson on Monday said that the former
prime minister "has clearly stated that he never accepted bribes,
neither directly nor indirectly and he stands behind this statement
today." The spokesperson asserted that "no claims by the prosecution
will change this fact."
The statement went on to classify the entire affair as a "media circus
that began long before he was asked even one question," and as an
"Arabian Nights tale born in the mind of the state's witness."
Other defendants in the indictments announced Monday were Olmert's former assistant Shula Zaken,
former mayor of Jerusalem Uri Lupolianski, former chairman of Bank Hapoalim Dan Dankner, and a list of other suspects.
The State Prosecutor informed the suspects of their intention to indict them, pending a hearing.
The Justice Ministry said that following an opinion from the state
prosecutor and state legal advisor on criminal matters, it decided to
file bribery charges against Olmert, Zaken and Lupolianski.
In August 2010, Police recommended that state prosecutors indict Olmert and several additional suspects in the affair.
The former prime minister was questioned under caution three times in
June and July of last year over suspicions that he accepted around a
million shekels in bribes from real estate developers in exchange for
supporting the Holyland construction project in southern Jerusalem.
During questioning, Olmert was shown a series of documents allegedly
linking him to bribery, fraud and abusing public office during his
tenures as Jerusalem mayor and minister of trade, industry and labor. He
has denied all of the suspicions against him.
Yaakov Lappin and Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.