PM 'too busy' to deal with Mazuz hearing

Spokesman denies report that Olmert was leaning towards waiving hearing because it concerned only 1 of 6 affairs for which he had been investigated.

olmert 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
olmert 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has not yet discussed with his lawyers whether or not to ask for a hearing before Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz files an indictment against him regarding the Rishon Tours affair, his spokesman, Amir Dan, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. Dan denied a report that Olmert was leaning towards waiving the hearing because it concerned only one of six affairs for which the prime minister had been or was still being investigated by police. The police have completed three investigations and submitted their findings to the state prosecution. In the case of allegations that Olmert tried to slant a government tender for the sale of the controlling interest in Bank Leumi for a friend, Australian businessman Frank Lowy, the police recommended closing the file. It recommended indicting Olmert on allegations that he received cash gifts from US businessman Morris Talansky, and the Rishon Tours affair, in which he is suspected of double- or triple-billing non-profit organizations and sometimes the state for trips he made abroad on their behalf. Police are still investigating charges involving the purchase of a house on Cremieux St. in Jerusalem's German Colony, political appointments and favoritism in giving government grants to businesses represented by his personal friend and former law partner, Uri Messer. Last week, when Mazuz announced that he was considering filing an indictment against Olmert regarding the Rishon Tours allegations, Dan said it was "inhuman" to force the prime minister to appear before Mazuz separately for each of the different affairs regarding which the attorney-general decides to indict him. Since Mazuz made his announcement last week, Olmert has been too busy dealing with the economic crisis to consult with his lawyers, Eli Zohar, Nevot Tel-Tzur and Ro'i Blecher, on how to respond, he added. "First they want to see the investigative material," said Dan. "After that, they will decide what to do." He also explained that the lawyers were still not in possession of the material because of "technical" problems, but that this fact did not signify that they had decided not to ask for a hearing.