Holyland Probe Linked to Other Corruption Charges Against Olmert, Says Prosecutor

In an announcement made by Prosecutor Uri Korev at Olmert's trial in Jerusalem, he noted that the investigation is in its final stages.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is still a suspect in the Holyland case and the affair could be related to the transfer of funds for his election campaign, prosecutor Uri Korev hinted on Thursday.

"I would like to update the court with respect to our announcement of the opening of an investigation, which will likely be relevant to these proceedings," Korev said at the beginning of the trial. "For the last several months there has been an intense and unprecedented investigation, and now it is in its final stages."

Ehud Olmert
Daniel Bar-On

"The defendants in this case (Olmert and his former bureau chief Shula Zaken), in addition to a number or others, are also under suspicion in that case," Korev continued. "As we predicted, there are connections between the new investigation and this case, especially in regards to testimony about the funding of Olmert's election campaign. We are currently processing the implications of these connections."

Korev added that new evidence and the results of the Holyland investigation would be submitted to Olmert's defense team in the near future, and noted that "We're not talking about only a couple of files' worth." According to his estimation, the investigation could have implications for the timetable of the current proceedings.

Today the court proceedings in Olmert's case were concluded until the end of a court recess. At the beginning of September the case will reconvene with the testimony of Rachel Risby-Raz, Olmert's travel agent, who is considered a key witness in the Rishon Tours case.

At the beginning of the week Olmert was questioned for the third time regarding the Holyland affair. Olmert was questioned over suspicions of bribery, fraud, breach of trust, and laundering funds in the case.

Among other things, Olmert's third questioning involved the evidence gathered by a police inquiry conducted in the U.S. in the past few weeks, and intending to trace the trail of money that Olmert is suspected of receiving from real estate interests, brokered by his brother Yossi Olmert, who has lived in the U.S. for the last few years.

The police is investigating the allegation that the former Prime Minister transferred some of the funds that he received from his brother, either directly or through friends of his brother, with the intention of covering up the crime.

The former prime minister is suspected, while holding the positions of Jerusalem Mayor and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister, who is responsible for the Israel Lands Administration, of having aided real estate entrepreneurs by furthering their financial interests, in exchange for a bribe of over a million shekels, in connection with the controversial real estate project in Jerusalem and other projects.