If Israel has ever had a modest prime minister, it was neither Ehud Barak nor Ehud Olmert. Barak made millions on overseas deals, among other things as a consultant to foreign governments on defense matters. When he was chairman of the Labor Party, he refused to sell his luxury apartment in Akirov Towers – an apartment that became a symbol of alienation between politicians and the public. Olmert is deeply involved in legal proceedings involving various cases of corruption, including his love for cigars and business class flights.
Olmert and Barak’s love of pleasure is also shown by the recordings of conversations in 2011 between Shula Zaken and Olmert played on Channel 10 broadcasts last Friday. This conversation is further evidence of the charged relations between Olmert and Barak. Barak, who was Minister of Defense in the Olmert government, was the one who demanded Olmert’s resignation as prime minister in late 2008 after the Talansky affair was revealed.
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“Did you know that Barak asked for an Audi A8?”, Olmert asked Zaken. “Do you know why? “Zaken answered no. “Because I have a 12- cylinder, six-liter Audi – a five-tone car, a tank. But listen: a car with a television inside, a digital television from every direction. It’s a bigger car than a Mercedes-Benz.” “A Mercedes is something, ” answered Zaken in a jealous tone.” “Just because I drive an Audi A8, that nut also wants one, ” Olmert summed up.
Olmert later made criminal accusations against his rival, Barak: “He’ll wind up in prison. Remember that I told you so, Shula, ” Olmert muttered suddenly. Zaken answered, “Do I know? They’ll all pay, not just him.”
“The head of the Mossad (Israel national intelligence agency) was with me, ” Olmert continued. “They all come to me… He’s taking millions and tens of millions in bribes. In every arms deal that Israel does. They’re all talking about it…” he said. Zaken asked, “Where’s the money?” Olmert answered, “He hides it… in Switzerland or somewhere… a law firm. He transfers it to a company in which the name of Barak doesn’t appear…”
Barak: Lies and deceit
Following the playing of the recording, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel and Ometz (Citizens for Proper Administration and Social and Legal Justice) called on the Attorney General to order an investigation into Barak’s business dealings. “The matter should be thoroughly investigated, and if necessary, Olmert should be made a state’s witness in order to get to the bottom of things and uproot bribery at high government levels, ” said Movement for Quality Government chairman Adv. Eliad Shraga.
Barak said in response, “This is baseless lies and deceit spread for years by a criminal who has now been convicted for reasons that every intelligent person can understand. The head of the Mossad, the only person mentioned as a source, has already emphatically denied it. If Olmert has any other information at all, let him take it to the police. The same is true of his sources, if he has any.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com