'Talansky asked PM's son to market mini-bar company'

Shaul Olmert tells police Talansky contacted him in New York in 2005.

Talansky  media 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Talansky media 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Shaul Olmert, son of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, told police investigators that Morris Talansky called a meeting with him in New York in 2005 to request assistance in promoting his mini-bar company, according to a report published on the NFC Web site Tuesday. Talansky, the New York businessman who says he gave Ehud Olmert a total of $150,000 in envelopes, gave an entirely different explanation for the meeting during his testimony to the Jerusalem Magistrate's court in May, saying he met with Shaul, who also lives in New York, to an attempt to get paid for the $15,000 loan he gave the prime minister in November 2005. Olmert had referred him to his son over the issue, Talansky said. "My secretary asked me... to call someone by the name of Morris Talansky, saying he wanted to speak to me about a business matter. I don't remember if he said who referred him," Shaul told detectives who questioned him at the National Fraud Unit headquarters in Bat Yam on July 1, according to the Web report. Shaul said he never discussed the loan with Talansky, adding that he rejected Talansky's request to help his mini-bar business. "I say he [Talansky] invented this [story about the loan]," Shaul was quoted as telling police. "Talansky thought I was an expert in the field in which he wanted to branch out into. I told him I didn't know a thing [about this area], so the conversation was very short." In November 2005, Ehud Olmert - who had recently been appointed finance minister - traveled to New York to celebrate his grandson's circumcision. According to Talansky's deposition in May, Olmert "asked for a loan of $15,000" during the visit. Talansky says he withdrew the cash from a Citibank cash machine, placed in an envelope, and handed it over to Olmert. Shaul's meeting with Talansky took place on November 23, 2005, not long after Ehud Olmert allegedly received the loan. According to one account, soon after receiving the loan, Olmert offered to put Talansky in touch with Las Vegas-based billionaire Sheldon Adelson as part of an effort to encourage Talansky's mini-bar business. Talansky said in May that the offer did not amount to much, as Adelson hanged up on him. The NFC report claims to provide a transcript of Shaul Olmert's interrogation by detectives. The detectives asked Shaul how much he knew about his father's business dealings with Talansky, according to the transcript. Shaul supposedly laughed before answering, "I had no connection [to that] whatsoever." "But you know about their business relationship, do you not?" a detective asked. "I knew only what Talansky told me during the meeting, that he knows my father personally, that he is a supporter, and that he is involved in Likud circles, something of that nature. Our entire discussion about the connection between Talansky and my father boiled down to those sentences," Shaul replied. Journalist Yoav Yitzhak, who runs NFC, placed in bold sections of the transcript where Shaul describes telling his father - after Talansky's deposition in May - about his 2005 meeting with the New York financier. Yitzhak told The Jerusalem Post said the report demonstrated "that the prime minister and his son had coordinated their testimonies in order to pervert the course of the investigation." Yitzhak recently petitioned the High Court of Justice to order Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to tell Olmert to suspended himself.