Israeli Supreme Court says Ehud Olmert acquittal must be revisited

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. Credit: Maxine Dovere.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert’s partial acquittal in his first corruption trial may be overturned as a result of a Supreme Court decision from Wednesday that paves the way for a retrial.

In 2008, prosecutors came across information that Olmert, as Jerusalem mayor in the 1990s and as a cabinet minister in the early 2000s, had accepted undeclared funds from American businessman Morris Talansky. The revelations contributed to Olmert’s decision to leave office several months later, ahead of an all but certain indictment.

In 2012, the Jerusalem District Court said that despite the problematic transactions, the state failed to prove that the former premier had committed breach of trust and fraud by accepting money from Talansky. Shortly after the not-guilty verdict, the state filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, and on Wednesday an expanded Supreme Court panel remanded the case back to the lower court in light of potentially new evidence the state had obtained from Olmert’s former bureau chief Shula Zaken.

The state struck a deal with Zaken, who agreed to provide previously confidential records pertaining to Olmert’s conduct. The documents were inadmissible during the trial because she was a codefendant and refused to take the stand. As a result of Wednesday’s decision, the state will be allowed to name Zaken as a witness and have her testify before the Jerusalem District Court against Olmert.

Posted on August 7, 2014 .