Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Israel ramps up Gaza bombardment

    Read more

  • US and EU broaden Russia sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • France evacuates its nationals from Libya

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

Israeli police recommend graft charges against PM

Latest update : 2008-09-08

Police recommended to prosecutors on Sunday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert be indicted in a corruption investigation. The formal decision to indict a prime minister lies with Attorney General Menahem Mazuz.

JERUSALEM - Israeli police said on Sunday they wanted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to face criminal charges in a corruption scandal driving him from office during peace talks with the Palestinians.

 

Issuing a non-binding recommendation, police said they had  evidence showing that Olmert illegally received money from a  U.S. businessman and made duplicate claims for travel expenses when he served as mayor of Jerusalem and trade and industry minister.

 

He has denied any wrongdoing in a series of investigations.

 

A police document said the recommendation included charges of bribery, fraud, money laundering and breach of public trust over funds that "reached hundreds of thousands of dollars".

 

With Olmert committed to resigning after his Kadima party holds a leadership vote on Sept. 17, the recommendation will
have no immediate impact on his tenure and does not guarantee an indictment will be filed by Israel's attorney-general.

 

Olmert's lawyers called the police recommendation "meaningless" because only the attorney-general can decide whether or not to indict a prime minister.

 

"We will wait patiently for the attorney-general's decision, and as opposed to the police, we have no doubt in our hearts he
is well aware of the responsibility he carries," the lawyers said in a statement.

 

LEGAL CASES

 

Olmert, who has vowed to pursue U.S.-backed peace talks with the Palestinians, could stay in office for weeks or months while his successor tries to form a new government coalition.

 

Polls show Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as the front-runner in a Kadima leadership race pitting her against Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz, a former defence chief.

 

"It has not been an easy day for the state of Israel. The police recommendation is a recommendation, and the
attorney-general needs to make a decision," Mofaz said in an interview on Israel's Channel One television.

 

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said of the police recommendation: "This is an internal Israeli matter, but we hope
that the internal complexities will not lead to more settlements and incursions."

 

One case focuses on New York-based fundraiser Morris Talansky who testified in an Israeli court in May he had given
Olmert $150,000 in cash-stuffed envelopes over a 15-year period.

 

The police document said: "The investigation showed that Talansky transferred to Olmert over the years, at least since
1997, significant sums of money, in different ways, some in cash and illegally."

 

At the same time, Olmert used his position to promote Talansky's businesses, the police said.

 

The second case deals with allegations that Olmert double billed trips abroad with public institutions, including Israel's
Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, and used the extra money to fund private trips for himself and his family.

 

The police said they will continue investigating Olmert over allegations he used a former cabinet post to promote a friend's
business interests and will soon decide whether to recommend further charges.

 

Under Israeli law, police submit their recommendation to the prosecution which then files its own legal opinion to
Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz, who is the only one authorised to indict a prime minister.

 

A prosecution source said it would take at least several weeks for Mazuz to decide. Mazuz has in the past turned down
police recommendations to indict a sitting prime minister.


 

Date created : 2008-09-07

COMMENT(S)