Key witness: PM Olmert is not a thief

Rachael Risby-Raz, who was PM's travel coordinator, says she's "pained by the daily lies in the media."

Olmert times two 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Olmert times two 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
"The prime minister is not a thief and not a fraud," Rachael Risby-Raz, a key witness in the newly revealed suspicions against Prime Minister Ehud Olmer said in a statement Saturday. Risby-Raz, who was Olmert's travel coordinator during his tenure as industry and trade minister and who now serves as his adviser on the Diaspora, said that she was "pained by the lies that appear in the media on a daily basis." Olmert, she said, "didn't take a Shekel for himself and didn't use the public's money for his family's needs." She said that the prime minister, who she valued and respected, was a "wonderful, warm, caring and humane person with amazing abilities," who has devoted the past 35 years "to further the interests of the state." The Justice Ministry and the police announced on Friday that they were investigating suspicions that Olmert raised money for trips abroad from multiple sources so he could pocket the difference. Risby-Raz said that she had cooperated fully with police investigators. "I am not suspected of any offense and I did not break any law." "Regretfully, she said, "unlike other sources who leak ceaselessly, I cannot give details on the investigation, protect the prime minister and my good name or tell the truth - for fear that I would be accused of disrupting the investigation." "I am saddened by the fact that in my country what a person says in the interrogation room appears in the newspapers the next day, and no one thinks that's wrong," she added. "I am saddened by the fact that in my country you can butcher a man in the town square without trial or [giving him] the right of innocence - and everyone leans back to enjoy the show."