Olmert questioned for 16th, possibly last time as PM

Detectives focus on suspicions that PM purchased an apartment on the capital's Rehov Cremieux from its developer at a significant discount.

Olmert worried 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Olmert worried 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Police questioned Prime Minister Ehud Olmert under caution at his Jerusalem residence for the 16th time on Friday, in what may be the last time officers from the National Fraud Unit interrogate the outgoing premier. The detectives focused on suspicions that Olmert purchased an apartment on the capital's Rehov Cremieux from its developer, the Alumot MG Engineering Corporation, at a significant discount, while serving as acting prime minister in 2004. Olmert allegedly shortened the bureaucratic processes in the Jerusalem Municipality for the Alumot Corporation in exchange for the discounts. The prime minister was also questioned on two additional cases. In the first, Olmert is suspected of arranging investment opportunities for his former law partner Uri Messer while he was the trade and industry minister. Olmert allegedly granted large state investment funds to a factory that Messer was hired to represent. In a separate case, police suspect Olmert illegally appointed cronies and granted benefits to entrepreneurs seeking various tenders when he served as trade, industry and minister. Officers are now expected to begin to sift through the materials and meet with state prosecutors to decide which if any of the cases can form the basis of an indictment. The prime minister could be interrogated again if prosecutors ask the police to complete lines of inquiry in any of the three cases. Associates of Olmert may also be questioned in the future. In July, police recommended that Olmert be indicted on a host of charges including bribery, breach of public trust, violation of anti-money laundering legislation, and fraudulent receipt of goods, on the basis of findings from two separate police investigations; the Talansky cash-for-envelopes affair, and the Rishon Tours affairs, in which police said Olmert had acted illegally by double-billing charities and a government ministry for the same flights, sending them false receipts, and using the excess to pay for personal family travel.