Police: Olmert May Have Passed Alleged Bribe Money to His Brother

Former PM Olmert is suspected of having given his brother, Yossi, some of the alleged bribes from Holyland affair.

Police said Wednesday that they were investigating whether former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert transferred part of the alleged bribe money he received in the Holyland affair to his brother, Yossi Olmert, who left Israel several years ago due to financial troubles.

Olmert allegedly received more than NIS 1 million during his time in office, part of which was transferred to the United States in order to cover his brother's debt, police suspect.

Police and the prosecution will be granted access to Yossi Olmert's bank accounts in order to trace the money. Police will also investigate whether other suspects in the corruption scandal allegedly transferred money abroad.

Earlier this week, an Olmert adviser said that the new draft indictment against the former premier was one more move in a “campaign of persecution."

Yossi Olmert

"This is part of an extended, planned campaign of persecution,” Amir Dan said. “It’s [coming] at the height of an ongoing legal proceeding − something that could have a direct and improper impact on everyone slated to testify in this proceeding in the coming days."

Police suspect that, between 1999 and 2008, the Holyland Development Company and associated land developers paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes to senior officials in the Jerusalem municipality, the district planning and building committee and in the Israel Lands Administration.

Olmert is currently on trial in three other cases, and is also due to be questioned by police in the Holyland corruption scandal.