Olmert faces more police interrogation

Police expected to recommend pressing charges against the premier next month.

police olmert house 224  (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
police olmert house 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will face another round of police questioning this week in the ongoing corruption probes that have brought about his political downfall. The premier was questioned by national fraud squad investigators at his official residence for three hours on Friday morning, in what has become a near-weekly ritual. The two most recent police investigations center around allegations that Olmert improperly accepted funds from New York businessman Morris Talansky, and that the premier double- and triple-billed organizations for his trips abroad. The police questioning on Friday - which was the sixth time Olmert has been interrogated so far - focused on the Talansky affair, as well as an earlier graft investigation dating back to the premier's tenure as industry, trade and labor minister, in which he is suspected of improperly granting favors to a factory represented by his former partner, attorney Uri Messer, police said. The prime minister denies any wrongdoing in all the cases. Olmert announced last month that he would step down from office after his Kadima Party picked a successor in a September internal party vote. The police are expected to recommend pressing charges against Olmert next month. Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz will then make a final decision on the case. On Thursday, the state prosecution said it would ask US authorities to declare that they would not use Talansky's testimony in Israel to pursue legal action against him. The announcement came at the end of a meeting between Talansky's lawyers, Jaques Chen and Yehoshua Reznik, and State Attorney Moshe Lador and Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel. Talansky's lawyers called for the meeting after their client's attorneys in the US, Bradley Simon and Neal Sher, informed them that on their advice, Talansky would not return to Israel as promised to complete his pre-trial cross-examination by Olmert's attorneys unless they receive such guarantees. US legal authorities are not expected to approve the request.