Israel's Prosecutor to Appeal Former PM Olmert's Acquittal in Corruption Case

In July, Jerusalem court acquitted Olmert in Rishon Tours and Talansky affairs, convicted him in Investment Center affair; court sentences ex-premier to one-year suspended sentence.

The State Prosecutor's Office has decided on Monday to appeal the acquittal of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a major corruption case, hours after the former PM was sentenced for a separate case in which he was found guilty earlier this year.

In July, Olmert was acquitted of charges against him in two major cases, and convicted only in a third. The Jerusalem District Court found Olmert not guilty of the charges in the Rishon Tours and Talansky affairs, and convicting him only on one count – breach of trust, in the Investment Center affair.

Accusations over the Talansky affair led to Olmert's forced resignation as prime minister.

On Monday, the former premier was sentenced for his breach of trust convicting, with the court handing Olmert a one-year suspended sentence and fining him NIS 75,300.

Olmert's former bureau chief Shula Zaken was also given a light sentence for her role in the affair: a nine-month suspended sentence and a NIS 40,000 fine.

However, later in the day, the State Prosecutor's office, ostensibly making good on Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel's comment following the sentencing that "the affair isn't over," decided to appeal Olmert's acquittal in the Talansky case.

In its decision to appeal, the State Prosecutor's Office is centering on the court's decision to acquit the former PM of any wrongdoing in the Talansky case, despite the fact that the court recognized that Talansky transferred hundreds of thousands of shekels to Olmert, some of which using cash envelopes, which were stored in a safe in the office of Olmert's attorney, Uri Messer, without due supervision or documentation.

However, officials in the State Prosecutor's Office have yet to decide whether or not to appeal the court's decision on the Rishon Tours affair, where, as with the Talansky case, the court criticized Olmert's conduct but still elected to acquit.

The state has 45 days to appeal Olmert's acquittal in both cases.

In remarks made following Olmert's sentencing on Monday, the former premier's legal representatives indirectly pressured the state away filing an appeal, with Olmert’s attorney Navot Tal Tzur saying:“Under these circumstances, anyone dreaming of filing an appeal in this case - such an appeal will be seen as no more than persecution."

Another member of Olmert's legal team, Eli Zohar, said that the "Supreme Court indicated that it wasn't worthy or right, and perhaps impossible, to appeal a ruling given by three judges."

Olmert's aide Amir Dan said: "The court decided that an Israeli prime ministry was deposed for nothing, and that as a result of a decision made by the State Prosecutor's Office, and if an appeal is filed, then that would represent another unfortunate decision by the State Prosecutor's Office, one motivated by nothing but persecution and personal revenge."