Olmert faces po­lit­i­cal ruin over bribes in­quiry

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER JERUSALEM AND JC RE­PORTERS

A NEW, po­ten­tially dev­as­tat­ing cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the fi­nan­cial af­fairs of Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ehud Olmert threat­ens to un­seat him.

If Mr Olmert, who was ques­tioned by po­lice un­der cau­tion last Fri­day, and will be ques­tioned again next week, is for­mally charged, he will be forced to re­sign. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volves at least two of Mr Olmert’s clos­est as­so­ciates, who have been re­peat­edly ques­tioned over the past few days. One is be­lieved to be con­sid­er­ing turn­ing state’s wit­ness.

“The State of Is­rael against Ehud Olmert” is the head­ing of a doc­u­ment handed to the Jerusalem Dis­trict Court on Tues­day morn­ing by the Jus­tice Min­istry. For the time be­ing, this is not an of­fi­cial charge-sheet; it is an ap­pli­ca­tion for the court to hear “prepara­tory tes­ti­mony” for a case that may never take place. But it is the clos­est the Is­raeli ju­di­ciary has ever come to putting a serv­ing prime min­is­ter on trial, and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion has cast a pall over the 60th-an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions.

Mr Olmert is no stranger to po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions. But the swift and res­o­lute fash­ion in which the po­lice and Jus­tice Min­istry have con­ducted them­selves is be­ing seen as in­di­cat­ing that this time, they be­lieve they have the nec­es­sary ev­i­dence to press charges against him for bribe-tak­ing.

Two po­ten­tial wit­nesses have emerged in the case so far. The first is Moshe (Mor­ris) Talan­sky, a Long Is­land busi­ness­man and realtor with fam­ily in Is­rael. Mr Talan­sky has been a ma­jor and long­stand­ing fundraiser for var­i­ous Is­raeli in­sti­tu­tions such as Shaare Tzedek Hospi­tal, the Jerusalem Col­lege of Tech­nol­ogy (where one of his sons teaches) and the New Jerusalem Foun­da­tion.


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