Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

  • Hamas and Israel sustain fire despite missed targets

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • Legal challenge to French mayor’s ban of Muslim hijab on beach

    Read more

  • Video: Outrage in wake of deadly Casablanca buildings collapse

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces ‘executed prisoners in reprisal’ for ISIS killings

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Kerry holds all-night talks with Afghan presidential rivals

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

Middle east

Former PM Olmert's graft trial begins

©

Video by Olivia SALAZAR-WINSPEAR

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-25

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert goes on trial Friday to face multiple graft allegations, becoming the country's first ex-premier to face criminal charges. He could be sentenced to five years in jail for each charge.

REUTERS - Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went on trial in Jerusalem on Friday on corruption charges, confidently predicting he would be acquittted of fraud, breach of trust and failure to report income.


"I came here as an innocent person and I believe my innocence will be proven," said the 64-year-old centrist politician, who was forced to stand down last year because of the allegations that he took cash for favours.


Olmert is the first Israeli premier to stand trial.


He stayed on as caretaker leader but was succeeded as Kadima party leader last September by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who won a plurality of votes in the general election last spring but failed to secure a viable coalition.


Rightist Benjamin Netanyahu took over as head of government.


Olmert told reporters outside the courtroom in Jerusalem that he had been the target of an "unfair" legal witchhunt for three years and was anxious to clear his name.


He denies any wrongdoing. He is accused of taking money from a U.S. businessman, advancing the interests of clients of a former law partner and double-billing charities for expenses incurred on fund-raisers.


Olmert's alleged crimes relate to his time as mayor of Jerusalem and as industry and trade minister before he became prime minister in 2006 as head of the centrist Kadima party.


Legal experts say if he is found guilty he could face up to five years in jail for each of the four charges.


A U.S. businessman has testified that he gave Olmert envelopes stuffed with hundreds of thousands of dollars. Olmert says the money was used for electioneering, denying he benefited personally in return for advancing the businessman's interests.


Olmert's trial is the latest in a series of scandals involving politicians in a country where legal authorities say they are waging a battle against corruption. In June, Israeli courts sent two former cabinet ministers to jail for corruption.


Olmert resigned as prime minister in September 2008, saying he wanted to clear his name, but stayed on as caretaker until March 2009 when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-leaning government was sworn in.


Olmert said he achieved significant progress in talks with the Palestinians aimed at securing a final Middle East peace deal, but the talks were suspended in December.

Date created : 2009-09-25

Comments

COMMENT(S)