The differing valuations of Olmert’s pen collection
Former pm charged with withholding collection's value from state comptroller.
By DAN IZENBERG
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s attorney, Eli Zohar, on Thursday completed his cross-examination of state’s witness Shlomit Lavi in connection with the charge that Olmert lied to State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss about the value of his pen collection.According to the indictment, Olmert received an assessment that the collection was worth NIS 3 million. However, in several declarations of the value of his property to the state comptroller, he wrote that it was worth only NIS 140,000.Olmert assessed pens at market value, not initial valueZohar tried to get Lavi to confirm that the difference in the estimates came because Olmert’s appraiser had assessed the value of the pens as if they were new, whereas Olmert himself provided the state comptroller with an estimate of their market value.Zohar said Olmert had insured the collection for what it would have cost him to replace them.Lavi told Zohar she could not confirm the arguments he made because she knew little about insurance.Regarding Olmert’s allegedly false report to the state comptroller regarding the pen collection and another affair, in which he allegedly concealed from the state comptroller a gift of $100,000 from businessman Joe Elmaliah, Olmert was charged with receiving something by deceit in aggravated circumstances.Later in the day, the state summoned Yehudit Lutzky, the Rishon Tours chief accountant, to the witness stand. Prosecuting attorney Uri Korb asked Lutzky what the travel agency did with the excess money credited to Olmert’s so called Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor account that accumulated from his alleged practice of double- and triple-billing organizations that sponsored his trips abroad on their behalf.Lutzky, who was asked to go over one Olmert trip at a time, confirmed that in some cases, Rishon Tours had transferred the money to Olmert’s private account at the travel agency.Questioning is due to resume next week.
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