Olmert aide downplays new allegations

Prime minister's press adviser Amir Dan claims: "The earth did not shake and the sky did not fall."

olmert talansky 248 88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
olmert talansky 248 88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Reacting to the Justice Ministry's announcement Friday about new allegations against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, press adviser Amir Dan claimed the allegations are exaggerated. "The earth did not shake and the sky did not fall," Dan said, downplaying the severity attributed by investigators to Olmert's actions. According to Dan, "the police and the State prosecution probably realized that there is nothing behind Talansky's testimony and therefore, even before it had begun, are trying to generate a spin by creating drama from nothing." "This material had already been transferred to the police three months ago. The urgency of this matter is unclear. Why now other than the attempt to divert the public's attention from Talansky's testimony," he added. MK Zvulun Orlev (NU-NRP) on Friday said that the new allegations against Olmert "are new black clouds which are joining the other black clouds which are already floating above Olmert's head." "In any civilized country Olmert would have lost his position a long time ago," Orlev added. MK Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) also called on Olmert to resign immediately, "Olmert's decision to remain in office is a heavy burden on Israeli society, which deserves a prime minister who isn't suspected of performing criminal activities." MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) said that Attorney General Menahem Mazuz "will be abusing his position if he doesn't remove Olmert from his position immediately." On Friday, the Justice Ministry announced that Investigators found new information, unrelated to financier Morris Talansky, against Olmert. While serving as mayor of Jerusalem and as minister of industry and trade, Olmert is suspected of seeking funding for flights abroad in his official capacity from several sources at the same time, including the State, the statement said. Each of the sources were asked to pay in full for the same flight, it added. Police suspect that the "considerable sums" that remained after the flight was paid for "were transferred by Olmert to a special fund which [his] travel agency administered for him. These monies were used to finance private trips abroad by Olmert and his family," the statement said.