'Talansky has close affinity to Israel'

NY financier's lawyer dismisses concerns he may not return to testify if indictment served against PM.

Citing his client's "close affinity to Israel," an attorney representing New York financier Morris Talansky dismissed concerns voiced by the state prosecution on Sunday that Talansky might not return to testify in court if the latest police investigation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resulted in an indictment. Talansky is suspected of illegally sending large amounts of cash to Olmert over several years. A statement sent by Talansky's lawyer, Jack Chen, to The Jerusalem Post spoke of Talansky's "deepest affinity for the country in which his children, grandchildren and many other members of his family reside, all of [whom] are citizens of this country." "Neither an investigation, nor a trial, press reports, nor any other form of discomfort will cause him [Talansky] to cut his ties to the country which he sees as his home, and to which he is linked with all of his soul," the statement continued. Talansky's repeated promises to return to testify came as Olmert's attorneys were fighting to overturn a decision by the Jerusalem District Court to take "preliminary" testimony from Talansky next Sunday. The Supreme Court began hearing the appeal on Monday morning. State prosecutors said Talansky's promise to return "cannot be trusted," since "he is a suspect in the affair." However, Talansky's attorney said his client had "answered all of the questions put to him by the police and has fully laid out his version, emphasizing that he was not involved in any violation of the law." A no-travel ban is keeping Talansky in Israel as the investigation continues, but he is growing impatient with his prolonged stay in the country and has set Monday, May 26, as the deadline after which Talansky's attorney will petition the Jerusalem District Court to overturn the no-fly ban. Talansky's "ongoing disengagement from his home in the US, his wife, and business there are taking a very heavy toll," his lawyer said. In any case, Talansky will return to Israel next month for a grandson's wedding, the lawyer added.