Lador: Decision on whether to indict Olmert coming 'very soon'

Talansky grilled over money transfers; PM's lawyer accuses businessman of lying about instruction he had given to banks, company he owns.

Talansky hold it 224.8 (photo credit: AP )
Talansky hold it 224.8
(photo credit: AP )
A decision on whether to indict Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will be made "very soon," State Attorney Moshe Lador said Monday. Lador said that the body of evidence gathered against the prime minister would soon be handed to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, who would then be tasked with deciding whether to take Olmert to court. In the fourth day of a grueling cross-examination of US businessman Morris Talansky, the defense team for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert focused their questions on what is the most serious of the allegations against the premier and his close friend, Uri Messer, in which the two are accused of acquiring funds from a company co-owned by Talansky without his knowledge. Attorney Nevot Tel-Tzur, who took over the questioning on Monday from Olmert's chief counsellor, Eli Zohar, started the day's proceedings by attacking a testimony that Talansky originally gave in direct examination on May 27. At that time, Talansky said that more than $200,000 in multiple transactions had been transferred from the account of Israel Developments, Ltd. without his knowledge. In his testimony then, Talansky said that while he did not know who had transferred this money from his company to Messer, he had his suspicions as to who it was. However, during cross examination on Monday, Tel-Tzur presented a general power of attorney that Talansky had given Messer allowing him to make transfers from Talansky's account and send documents in his name. Talansky said all along that he might have given Messer a power of attorney to deal with the purchase of a house in Jerusalem for him and his family, but nothing more. Tel-Tzur then continued his questioning and presented documents showing that Talansky had given his instructions to the manager of the account of Israel Developments, to have Messer transfer the money into Messer's own account. Again, Talansky said that he did not remember having written such a letter, even while confirming that he had signed the instruction. Tel-Tzur accused Talanksy of lying to the court when he said he could not remember these transactions. He showed Talansky a letter sent several days before the transfer instruction in which Talansky had asked to open a line of credit at the bank. Tel-Tzur said that in order to transfer the money, the US businessman needed to make complex arrangements beforehand, and it was impossible that he did not remember them. Tel-Tzur also showed documents proving that in addition to the $100,000 transfer to Messer's Bank Leumi account, Talansky also asked for an additional $110,000 to be transferred from the same company to his private account at City Bank, in New York. He also presented documents showing that Talansky had ordered another transfer of $60,000 to Messer's account at Bank Leumi in Jerusalem. Tel-Tzur accused the US businessman of lying when he said that he had not seen copies of his own instructions to the bank to make these transfers; however, the State argued that these instructions had not been handed over to the police until after Talanksy's initial testimony on May 27.