Olmert Questioned Again Over Holyland Bribery Affair

Last week Jerusalem District Court resumed its deliberations on Rishon Tours corruption trial against Olmert.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was questioned for the second time on Sunday morning regarding his alleged involvement in the Holyland bribery affair, police said.

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert

Olmert was questioned last week on suspicions of accepting bribes totaling over NIS 1 million from real estate developers to promote their interests in several projects, especially the Holyland apartment complex in Jerusalem. The bribes were allegedly given when Olmert served as mayor of Jerusalem and then as minister of industry and trade. In the latter role, he oversaw the Israel Lands Administration.

Last Wednesday, the Jerusalem District Court resumed its deliberations in a corruption trial against Olmert, related to one of the three cases that the trial will ultimately cover – Rishon Tours, in which Olmert is accused of billing several nonprofit organizations for the same overseas flights and using the extra money to finance personal trips for himself and his family.

The witnesses on Wednesday included representatives of some of these organizations, as well as Finance Ministry official Ilan Levin, who testifies about the rules government officials are supposed to follow on trips abroad.

Olmert's former bureau chief Shula Zaken is a co-defendant in all three cases.

The other two cases involve Olmert's alleged receipt of cash-filled envelopes from American Jewish businessman Morris Talansky and his alleged abuse of his power while industry and trade minister to help clients of a close friend, attorney Uri Messer, obtain government grants.