Outgoing Israeli PM to face indictment in fraud case

Israel Materials 2 March 2009 00:02 (UTC +04:00)

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would face the indictment by Attorney General on criminal charges of fraud and breach of trust in the case of U.S. businessman Morris Talansky, local media reported on Sunday.

Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz have informed Olmert his decision, Xinhua reported, referring to the website of Ha'aretz daily.
Olmert's former bureau chief, Shula Zaken, might be indicted as well.

Olmert, suspected of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from Talansky over a 15-year period, will have a chance to testify himself before any final decisions are made on the matter, should he choose to do so, the report said.

Mazuz had already recommended Olmert be indicted over the Rishon Tours affair, in which the premier is suspected of double- billing various nonprofit and state agencies for the same flights abroad on public business and then using the extra money to finance flights and seat upgrades for himself and his family.

The hearing in the Rishon Tours case has been postponed to April.
On Friday, Olmert was questioned under caution for the 16th time since police opened a corruption investigation against him last year.
The questioning session focused on the Cremieux Street apartment affair, in which the prime minister is accused of receiving an illicit discount on the Jerusalem real estate.

The outgoing prime minister was also suspected of arranging investment opportunities for his former law partner Uri Messer while he was then the Israel's trade and industry minister. Olmert allegedly granted large state investment funds to a factory that Messer was hired to represent.
In another case, Olmert was suspected of illegally appointing cronies and granted benefits to entrepreneurs seeking various tenders when he served as trade and industry minister.