'Olmert to be interrogated on Friday'

PMO confirms prime minister will be questioned by police's Fraud Investigation Unit; reason unclear.

mazuz 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
mazuz 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The Prime Minister's Office confirmed Thursday night that police investigators will question Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for an hour on Friday morning. According to the office, Olmert received a request for the investigation on Wednesday. "The prime minister intends to cooperate fully with the law enforcement officers, as he has done in the past, and he is convinced that when the truth is revealed within the framework of the police investigation, the suspicions against him will be dispelled," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement. Olmert's office did not specify which of the three investigations open against him was involved in the surprise questioning. According to a Channel 2 report on Thursday night, the hastily-scheduled interrogation by the National Fraud Squad was made possible after police received special authorization from Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to summon Olmert within 48 hours. Two criminal investigations and a preliminary police probe are currently open against the prime minister. In April 2007, Mazuz approved a criminal investigation into allegations that Olmert received favorable terms for the purchase of his home in Jerusalem's Rehov Cremieux in return for helping the contractor who sold it to him. In October of that year, Mazuz opened a second criminal investigation into allegations of cronyism while Olmert led an investment center operated by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry; political appointments by Olmert via the Small and Medium Business Authority; and political appointments by Olmert throughout the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry. The third probe is examining the decision by the Investment Center to grant an "approved industry" status to Silicat Industries, Inc., which was represented by Olmert's former law partner and close friend, Uri Messer - a decision that saved the company $11 million as well as entitling it to a series of government benefits. Rebecca Anna Stoil and Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.