Comptroller: PM secured millions for associate while minister

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert interfered with the activity of the Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry's Investment Promotion Center (IPC) in order to help a member of the Likud central committee, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss stated Monday in his annual report on government conduct. Olmert was a member of Likud until the formation of Kadima in late 2005 and served as Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister until he took the place of Ariel Sharon in January 2006. According to Lindenstrauss, Olmert helped a member of Likud's central committee, factory owner Rahamim Ben-Shushan, to get millions of shekels in government aid, while acting against ministry procedures. The Prime Minister's Office responded to the allegations by saying the case of Ben-Shushan had been handled according to government regulations as part of the IPC's routine activity.