Olmert faces sec­ond po­lice ques­tion­ing

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER

PRIME MIN­IS­TER Ehud Olmert is to be ques­tioned by po­lice to­day (Fri­day) for the sec­ond time over sus­pi­cions of bribe-tak­ing. One of the main wit­nesses, fi­nancier Mor­ris Talan­ski, is to give pre­lim­i­nary ev­i­dence next week.

StateProse­cu­torMosheLador­claimed in­aSupre­meCourt­hear­ingth­atMrOlmert had re­ceived en­velopes stuffed with dol­lars from Mr Talan­sky, a US cit­i­zen.

The hear­ing was held over a pe­ti­tion by Mr Olmert and his for­mer bureau chief Shula Zaken’s lawyers against the Jerusalem Dis­trict Court’s de­ci­sion to hold a pre­lim­i­nary ses­sion to hear Mr Talan­sky’s ev­i­dence, en­abling him to re­turn to his home in Long Is­land. The Supreme Court re­fused the pe­ti­tion. In fur­ther ques­tion­ing, Mr Talan­sky said that he had given Mr Olmert money not only for fund­ing his po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns, con­tra­dict­ing what the Prime Min­is­ter said two weeks ago. Po­lice sus­pect that Mr Talan­sky also fi­nanced private trips by Mr Olmert to the US.

Mr Olmert’s lawyers have asked that Mr Talan­sky’s tes­ti­mony be post­poned to give them time to go over ev­i­dence col­lected by the po­lice, but the Jerusalem At­tor­ney-Gen­eral of­fice has re­fused, claim­ing that the lawyers could have picked up the ma­te­rial ear­lier. Mr Talan­sky is de­mand­ing to leave the coun­try by next Mon­day and is ex­pected to give his tes­ti­mony on Sun­day.

Mean­while, po­lice are ques­tion­ing Trade Min­istry and Jerusalem City Hall of­fi­cials to dis­cover whether Mr Olmert in­ter­vened on be­half of Mr Talan­sky or any of his clients when he served as Mayor and Trade Min­is­ter.

In an­other de­vel­op­ment, an Is­raeli driver in New York told po­lice that he trans­ferred en­velopes with money from US busi­ness­man S Daniel Abra­ham. Mr Abra­ham de­nied the story.

Mr Olmert has an­nounced that he will re­sign if the At­tor­ney Gen­eral, Meni Mazuz, de­cides to press charges against him. It will take time to reach such a de­ci­sion, but all three po­ten­tial lead­ers of the rul­ing party Kadima, For­eign Min­is­ter Tzipi Livni, Trans­port Min­is­ter Shaul Mo­faz and In­te­rior Min­is­ter Meir Sheetrit have stepped up their ef­forts to sign on new party mem­bers, in prepa­ra­tion for lead­er­ship pri­maries that will take place should Mr Olmert be forced to re­sign.

PHOTO: AP

A Prime Min­is­ter un­der pres­sure: Ehud Olmert in the Knes­set

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