National Fraud Unit grills Zaken again

Olmert's former bureau chief questioned on Rishon Tours case, Cremieux home purchase affair.

Zaken 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Zaken 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Shula Zaken, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's former bureau chief, was interrogated on Monday by the National Fraud Unit in Bat Yam. Zaken was expected to be questioned over allegations which surfaced over the weekend that Olmert sought funding from multiple donors for the same trips, and, by way of a specially created fund at the Rishon Tours travel agency, used the excess cash to pay for personal flights for family members. She was also due to be grilled over the 'Cremieux Affair,' in which Olmert is suspected of buying a home on Jerusalem's Cremieux Street for $320,000 less than the $1.6 million market price, a discount allegedly received in return for helping the construction firm that refurbished the apartment acquire building permits. Zaken has been questioned several times over Olmert's alleged misdemeanors, including in the illicit funding case involving New York businessman Morris Talansky. Each time, the prime minister's former bureau chief has reportedly exercised her right to remain silent. Meanwhile, Olmert's lawyers on Monday retracted their demand that all the investigative material compiled by police be handed over to them before their cross-examination of Talansky, scheduled for Thursday. Army Radio reported that Olmert's lawyers came to the conclusion that there was no connection between the new material and Talansky's testimony. In any case, on Sunday, the state rejected the request made to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court by Olmert's lawyers, saying that the new material had very little to do with the Talansky case and that it was likely to disrupt the illicit funding investigation. Yaakov Lappin and Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.