'Zaken may have listened in on Olmert'

Channel 10: Secretary told police that aide eavesdropped on private phone calls with officials.

shula zaken 248 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi )
shula zaken 248 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi )
Shula Zaken, formerly a close aide to prime minister Ehud Olmert, and currently under investigation for her role in a money-transfer affair which involved the former premier and New York businessman Morris Talansky, may now also be charged with another criminal act: eavesdropping on a sitting prime minister. According to a Channel 10 report, police discovered Zaken's alleged illicit activity while speaking to another secretary from the Prime Minister's Office during the course of a previous investigation against Olmert. The secretary told police that Zaken would listen in on a number of Olmert's conversations, without his knowledge, including phone calls with Ariel Sharon, Binyamin Netanyahu, and Cabinet Secretary Israel Maimon, Channel 10 reported. The secretary, the report went on, was also asked by investigators if Zaken had listened in on conversations between Olmert and Talansky or Uri Messer, a former legal adviser to the premier who is also suspected of criminal activity. The secretary said that she was not sure whether conversations with Talansky or Messer were overheard, as Zaken would wave out all the employees when she preceded to eavesdrop so that no one would know who was on the other line. The Channel 10 report stated that following the secretary's interrogation, investigators confronted Olmert with the allegations against his close aide. Olmert told the police that he had no knowledge of such activity. Investigators also asked Zaken directly about the charges, the report said, but Zaken used her right to remain silent and refused to answer their questions. The report said that police had passed the case on to state prosecutors, adding that the state was taking the allegations seriously and would soon decide whether to press charges against Zaken for eavesdropping. Zaken was the main subject of testimony on Monday when prosecutors asked Talansky about her role in the money-transfer affair. The New York businessman has given contradictory testimony regarding Zaken, saying at times that he passed her envelopes full of money meant for Olmert, and other times saying that only one envelope meant for the premier was given to her.