Olmert in the clear on 'Cremieux' affair

Police: Not enough evidence to prove allegations PM bought his Jerusalem house below market price.

Cremieux olmert 248 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Cremieux olmert 248 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Police on Thursday announced that insufficient evidence had been found to bring criminal charges against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert over alleged irregularities in his purchase of a home on Jerusalem's Rehov Cremieux. According to the suspicions, Olmert purchased the apartment in the capital's German Colony neighborhood from its builder, the Alumot MG Engineering Corporation, for hundreds of thousands of dollars less than the market price, while serving as acting prime minister in 2004, and in exchange shortened bureaucratic processes within the Jerusalem Municipality for the Alumot Corporation, allowing Alumot to increase it building rights despite severe construction restrictions imposed on the structure because it was classified as a preserved building. "No evidence has been found to show that Olmert shortened processes... in the municipality," the police said in a statement. The chief of Israel Police Investigations, Cmdr. Yoav Saglovitch, adopted the National Fraud Unit's conclusions, the statement added. The case and the police recommendations will now be passed on to prosecutors. Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz has already announced his intention to indict the prime minister in three separate affairs - the 'Investment Center' case, the 'cash envelopes case' and the 'Rishon Tours' case - pending hearings. In response to the police announcement, Olmert's spokesman Amir Dan said the result was "obvious from Day One," and questioned "why it took three years to investigate simple claims, only to arrive at the obvious conclusion - that there is nothing to them." Earlier this month, the National Fraud Unit announced that police had amassed enough evidence for state prosecutors to indict Olmert for breach of trust and fraud in the 'Investment Center' affair. In this case, Olmert allegedly ensured that a silica factory that his close associate and former legal partner, Uri Messer, was hired to endorse, would receive a generous grant from the ministry's Investment Center. The allegations span the period between 2003 and 2006, when Olmert was industry, trade and labor minister. In the 'cash envelopes' affair, Mazuz has said he plans to indict the prime minister on a host of charges including fraud, bribery, violation of public trust and receiving goods fraudulently, based on the police investigation. In the 'Rishon Tours' affair, Olmert is suspected of double- or triple-billing non-profit organizations, and sometimes the state, for trips he made abroad on their behalf.