Published On: Mon, Mar 31st, 2014

Ehud Olmert, ex-Israeli PM, convicted in bribery case


Ten of the thirteen accused in the Holyland case have been found guilty.

Ehud Olmert  picture: Ronen Schitzer

Ehud Olmert in court today

Jerusalem District Court Judge David Rozen has convicted former prime minister Ehud Olmert on charges of bribery in the Holyland affair. Nine of the twelve other people indicted in the case, among them Uri Lupolianski, who like Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem during the period that the Holyland project was going through planning procedures, were convicted along with Olmert.

The case concerns the Holyland real estate development that dominates Jerusalem’s western skyline. Real estate developers Hillel Cherny and Avigdor Kelner have been convicted of bribing Olmert and Lupolianski and officials in the Jerusalem municipality to expedite planning permission for the project. The prosecution case rested largely on the evidence of a state’s witness, Shmuel Dechner, who died during the course of the trial. Judge Rozen said in this morning’s hearing that although Dechner’s motives were not pure, he had fulfilled his duty under the law, and his evidence was credible.
The Holyland Project  in Jerusalem. (image by Adiel lo,    via Wikipedia)

The Holyland Project  in Jerusalem. (Image by Adiel lo, via Wikipedia)

Olmert’s former aide Shula Zaken, who was among the accused and who remained loyal to him for much of the trial, which began in July 2012, reached a last-minute plea bargain with the prosecutor under which she accepted an eleven month prison term in exchange for handing over telephone conversation recordings allegedly implicating Olmert in obstructing justice. Judge Rozen postponed handing down his verdicts in the case until today in order to consider whether to admit the further evidence, but it emerges that he had decided to convict Olmert in any event.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com

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