PM wants Talansky testimony postponed

Senior former law enforcement official says Olmert's version unconvincing; media ban to be lifted Wed.

zohar olmert lawyer 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
zohar olmert lawyer 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's attorneys petitioned the Jerusalem District Court Wednesday with a request that the preliminary testimony of American businessman Morris Talansky be postponed by two weeks - it is scheduled to take place on Sunday - so as to allow them time to peruse the evidence amassed by police so far in the case. On Tuesday, Olmert's appeal against the decision to allow the state to take the testimony from Talansky was turned back by the Supreme Court. Members of the prime minister's defense team have refrained from examining the evidence, although the material has been accessible to them since the decision to allow Talansky's testimony was made. The lawyers are claiming that "It would be wrong to take the investigation material as long as we are opposed to the entire process. We would have been portrayed as [...] trying to enjoy the best of both worlds." They also claimed that the material which was put at their disposal was "very partial in any case." Detectives from the National Fraud Unit are "trying to figure out how Olmert came up with his explanations for where all of the money he received from Talansky went," a senior former law enforcement official said on Tuesday. The source described the prime minister's account of the cash's destinations as unconvincing. "Olmert said the money went to cover deficits, but he has shown no proof for that. Some fictitious accounts may also be involved," the source said. The lifting of the partial media ban over details of the criminal investigation on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. will lead to further revelations in the case, including the extent of the funds in question, the source indicated. "The public will learn that more money than they think is involved. There's lots of money here," he said. "Despite official statements, the police are not really interested in Olmert's two terms as mayor - they're focusing on his time as Industry, Trade and Labor Minister, between 2003 and 2006," the senior former law enforcement official added. "There is no question that we are talking about a bribery investigation. There are word games being played by authorities to try and soften things up, because the prosecution and the police have been burned in the past, and they want to be cautious. But this is about bribery," he said.