The prime minister's mounting woes

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is under suspicion of one sort or another in connection with more affairs than any other political leader in the history of the country. The following is a rundown of the various scandals to which his name has been linked:
  • The Bank Leumi tender: Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz ordered the police to launch a criminal investigation into suspicions that after being appointed finance minister, Olmert intervened in a tender for the purchase of the core share of the bank in favor of two friends and business associates, Frank Lowy and Daniel Abraham. The police investigation began on January 17.
  • The Investment Center: State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss referred his report on this matter to Mazuz on Wednesday because of suspicions that Olmert may have broken the law. He accused the prime minister of intervening on behalf of a company seeking preferred status and government grants to establish a factory in Dimona. The company was represented by Olmert's close friend and former business partner, Uriel Messer.
  • Political Appointments in the Small and Medium Businesses Authority: On October 24, 2006, Mazuz received Lindenstrauss's report charging that Olmert had made political appointments in the Small and Medium Business Authority during his years as industry and trade minister. Lindenstrauss told Mazuz he suspected that Olmert might have committed a criminal offense. Mazuz has not yet decided what to do about this report.
  • The house on Cremieux Street: Lindenstrauss is investigating allegations that Olmert received $320,000 as a bribe from the contractor from whom he bought his home on Cremieux Street in Jerusalem. The contractor allegedly sold the house for $320,000 less than the market price. In return, Olmert allegedly used his political influence to enable the contractor to build more floor space than the municipal plan for the area permitted. Lindenstrauss referred the matter to Mazuz once before, but the attorneygeneral sent the material back and asked him to complete his investigation. The state comptroller has not yet issued his report.
  • The other houses: Mazuz is reportedly conducting preliminary examinations regarding two other real estate transactions by Olmert. One involves a house in Jerusalem's Nahlaot quarter, which he reportedly sold for $250,000 above the market price. The other involves an apartment he allegedly bought in Tel Aviv for at least $100,000 less than the market price.
  • Appointments in Bezeq: Investigative reporter Yoav Yitzhak, who first broke the story of the Cremieux Street house, lodged a complaint with Mazuz in July 2006, to the effect that Olmert appointed three Likud Central Committee members to Bezeq. In October 2006, the Justice Ministry confirmed that the complaint was being examined.