Corruption Trial of Former PM Olmert Nears Final Stages

Ehud Olmert and long-time bureau chief Shula Zaken charged with numerous offenses in three separate affairs.

The corruption trial in the Jerusalem District Court of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his long-time bureau chief, Shula Zaken, ends on Thursday. Both stand charged with numerous corruption offenses, including accepting bribes, fraud, breach of trust, falsifying documents and income tax evasion.

In his summation yesterday Zaken's attorney, Micha Fettman, accused the state of trying to use his client to bring down Olmert. "This woman was a pawn in the hands of the law enforcement establishment," Fettman told the court. "They proved they don't care about the truth."

Ehud Olmert -  Tomer Appelbaum - 14022012
Tomer Appelbaum

He went on to attack the prosecution for charging Zaken with unauthorized eavesdropping into Olmert's conversations, arguing that Olmert's own testimony had established that it was the accepted practice in his office.

Zaken, who last month was convicted of fraud and breach of trust in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court for helping her brother Yoram Karshi to affect the appointments of senior tax officials, was also accused of listening in on Olmert's conversations with politicians without his knowledge.

The trial involves three separate affairs, known as the Talansky Affair, Rishon Tours and the Investment Center, as well as false declarations by Olmert to the State Comptroller regarding funds he received from a U.S. citizen and an assessment of the value of his pen collection. Zaken is also implicated in these affairs.

In the Rishon Tours case, Olmert allegedly pocketed $92,164 by claiming double and triple reimbursement from public organizations and the state for trips in 2002-2006.

The Talansky Affair concerns more than $600,000 Olmert allegedly received from the American fundraiser Morris Talansky in 1997-2005, while the Investment Center Affair concerns alleged conflict of interest between two Industry and Trade Ministry departments during Olmert's tenure as minister.