Ehud Olmert’s Attorneys to Be Quizzed in New Obstruction-of-justice Probe

Attorneys suspected of pressuring former PM's former secretary Shula Zaken to rejecting a plea bargain.

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Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, center, waits before the start of a hearing in his trial for corruption linked to a major property development on March 31, 2014 at Tel Aviv District Court.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, center, waits before the start of a hearing in his trial for corruption linked to a major property development on March 31, 2014 at Tel Aviv District Court.Credit: AFP

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s attorneys are expected to be quizzed during a new probe into claims of obstruction of justice in the Holyland affair. The investigation was opened after Shula Zaken provided new information to police that led to her signing a state witness agreement.

Olmert was convicted last Monday of accepting bribes in the long-running corruption case.

According to suspicions, Olmert’s attorneys briefed Zaken, and she was also pressured by Olmert not to sign a plea bargain over a year ago that would have involved her admitting to receiving a bribe, and receiving an 11-month prison sentence. Olmert is also expected to be questioned this week.

Zaken’s defense attorneys, Ofer Bartal and Gilad Cohen, met with Olmert’s attorney for the Rishon Tours and Talansky affairs, Navot Tel Zur, roughly a year ago. Both of those cases were awaiting review from the Supreme Court. Zaken asked for a second opinion regarding the plea bargain, and approached Tel Zur, who is also expected to relay her version of events.

Last Thursday, Zaken spent hours testifying to police. Bartal also provided testimony to the police last week.

Earlier last Thursday, it was revealed that businessman Alfred Akirov was also called in for questioning, to see if Olmert used him to pass money along to Zaken to buy her silence.

The police interrogation will focus primarily on the funding for Zaken’s defense and financial compensation she received for keeping quiet.

During the Holyland investigation, it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of shekels were deposited into one of Zaken’s son’s accounts from abroad. It was also revealed that, in 2009, Zaken herself received $50,000 from businessman S. Daniel Abraham.

Last October, Olmert confirmed that he helped fund Zaken’s defense through Abraham in the Jerusalem District Court. “I’m glad that he helped her, she was left almost without any way to pay her legal fees. She worked with me 40 years, what, you think I would abandon her?” answered Olmert to a question from prosecutor Jonathan Tadmor.

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