(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
The state witness in the Holyland trial on Tuesday explained the context of NIS
100,000 in bribes that he admitted to paying through intermediaries to former
prime minister Ehud Olmert in 2003.
At the time Olmert was industry,
trade and labor minister, and, according to S.D., he was still helpful in
overcoming legal barriers to the Holyland project, even if not as instrumental
as during his tenure as mayor.
The intermediary, according to S.D. – as
the state witness is known due to a gag order – was Olmert’s former bureau chief
Zaken reportedly has not denied receiving the funds, but
claimed during the police investigation that they were part of her friendship
with S.D., and not bribes.
The Holyland trial involves massive
allegations of fraud and bribery – in building a large residential complex on
the grounds where the Holyland hotel formerly stood – against 16 defendants,
including Olmert, former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski and other prominent
public officials and businessmen.
S.D. also noted that during the time
period of these particular bribes he met with Olmert once or twice a month when
the latter was a minister.
Prior to that, when Olmert was mayor of
Jerusalem, S.D. had met with him more frequently, but at this point meeting with
Olmert associates such as Zaken and Uri Messer was sufficient.
discussed providing bribes of NIS 50,000 to Messer during the same period,
despite the fact that S.D.
revealed that he and his backers had initially
been angry with Olmert when he switched from the position of Jerusalem mayor to
that of minister. S.D. said Olmert should have hinted to them that he might be
switching positions in the future, in which case they might have reduced the
bribes he received since he was most valuable to them while still
Separately, S.D. testified about the beginning of the fraying of
his relationships with some of the defendants in 2007. In one instance, Ziel
Feldman, a new owner of Polar Investments, requested invoices from S.D. for his
services, he said.
Polar Investments had been one of the Holyland
investors and one of S.D.’s employers for his work as middle man with key
politicians, also funding the bribes that S.D. used to pay the politicians prior
to Feldman’s takeover, said S.D.
First, S.D. considered the request,
which he thought was unusual. But further disagreements about the handling of
the invoices made S.D. angry with Feldman.
If the previous owner, and one
of the defendants in the Holyland case, Avigdor Kellner, had still been in that
position, he would never have been asked for the documentation, said
S.D. was irate because additional documentation would merely create
a paper trail to trace his involvement in the bribery and fraud.
state witness testified that he called Kellner and told him that the new owners
were acting with “chutzpah” and that he needed to “get them off his back.”