Police seek to question PM before Talansky testifies

Talansky is scheduled to testify at the Jerusalem District Court next Sunday.

Olmert 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Olmert 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The National Fraud Unit hopes to interrogate Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for a second time in the coming days, an Israel Police spokesman confirmed on Saturday evening. "It's not an urgent request, but in the coming days we would like to question him," police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said. "A message has been sent to Olmert's lawyers. We are waiting to hear back from them on the location and time of the questioning session." Fraud Unit head Lt.-Cmdr. Shlomo Ayalon and two detectives questioned Olmert at his Jerusalem residence for 90 minutes on May 2. Morris Talansky, the New York financier suspected of illegally sending large amounts of cash to Olmert, is scheduled to testify at the Jerusalem District Court next Sunday. Olmert's lawyers intend to cross-examine Talansky during his court appearance, and say they need prior access to materials from the police investigation into Olmert to prepare. But as such information would likely enable Olmert to better his defense, detectives appear keen to interrogate the prime minister once more before revealing their cards. Irrespective of Talansky's upcoming testimony, the police need to speak to Olmert again, former Israel Police chief investigator Cmdr. (ret.) Moshe Mizrahi told The Jerusalem Post. "The first round of questioning was insufficient. It was merely an opportunity to take down Olmert's initial version of events. It clearly wasn't enough," Mizrahi said. "Now, with Olmert's lawyers demanding materials from the investigation, it is even more critical to speak to Olmert again [before he learns the details of the police case]," Mizrahi added. "Generally speaking, all suspects would love to know the content of investigations before being questioned. The whole point of an interrogation is to get an authentic answer that divulges real information, not one that is rehearsed," he said. Olmert's lawyers are entitled to ask to see nearly all of the documentation from the investigation, Mizrahi said. "They can use an array of claims to argue that all of it is relevant. They can demand to receive anything that has the potential to contradict Talansky's testimony." Earlier this month, Cmdr. (ret.) Yosef Sedbon, former senior police investigator, said Olmert would be interrogated several more times by the National Fraud Unit. "More questions will arise. According to past experience, Olmert will be questioned several more times," Sedbon said.•