Police Question Olmert Over Bribery Allegations Against Ehud Barak

Investigators trying to ascertain whether former PM’s 2011 claim that former defense minister took bribes was justified.

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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The two Ehuds in better days. Then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Then Defense Minister Ehud Barak in July, 2007.
The two Ehuds in better days. Then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Then Defense Minister Ehud Barak in July, 2007. Credit: Tess Scheflan
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week gave evidence to the police regarding bribery allegations he was secretly recorded saying about Ehud Barak last year.

The recordings, dating from 2011, were broadcast on Channel 10 News last November. Olmert’s former bureau aide, Shula Zaken, handed over the tapes to the team investigating allegations against Olmert, as part of a plea bargain under which she would turn state’s witness.

Olmert was summoned to the headquarters of Israel Police’s crime-fighting unit (Lahav 433) in Lod in recent days, where he was questioned about the tapes.

In one of their conversations, Zaken recorded Olmert talking about former defense minister Barak. “The head of the Mossad came to me, everyone came to me,” Olmert said. “He [Barak] took bribes worth millions and tens of millions. There is no arms deal Israel does ... everyone is talking about it.”

Zaken: “Where’s the money?”

Olmert: “He hides it in Switzerland or in some law firm, he transfers it to a company where Barak’s name doesn’t appear.”

Barak immediately denied the allegation and maintained that they were the words of someone in distress. Barak called it a “lie, deceit and completely baseless, spread for years by an offender who meanwhile has also been convicted, for reasons that any reasonable person can figure out on his own.”

The head of the Mossad also said he never said such things to Olmert, but last November the attorney general decided to instruct the police to conduct an examination of the tape’s contents. The intention is to ascertain whether what Olmert said did in fact take place, or whether he was simply boasting to his aide.

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