Olmert at Graft Trial: I Knew Nothing of Inappropriate Travel Payments

The former prime minister attacks the prosecution in his testimony and denies the contention that he knew of the private account that was managed in his name.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attacked the prosecution at his corruption trial in a Jerusalem district court on Monday, denying that he had any knowledge of the private bank account that was managed on his behalf by a Rishon Tours travel agent.

"This is a false accusation that has no basis, for which there is no evidence. I never knew about it," Olmert said in court. "'My own personal investment bank' is a fabrication of the prosecution. I didn't know that there was any such account… I had no idea. No one told me that it exists."

Ehud Olmert
Gili Cohen-Magen

Olmert added, "I didn't speak with any of my employees. I didn't speak with people at Rishon Tours, I didn't give them any instructions of this or that kind… Of course mistakes were made and I regret them and they cause me great embarrassment. But to try and build a case for it being systemic?"

Olmert also attacked the former Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry accountant, Dan Marinov, for refusing to approve travel expenses due to budget limitations. "I would have to request approval for the expense in order to ask for the approval of the government? That is entirely unacceptable."

"In a normal country, I wouldn't need his approval. The government approved it by a majority vote and the support of the prime minister's office, and the office should have paid. Period," said Olmert. "There's no such thing as approving the expense in advance. There never was anything like that. It is an invention created to hold unfounded accusations."