Olmert Travel Coordinator Indicted in Rishon Tours Affair

Indictment charges Olmert and bureau chief Zaken of exploiting their authority for financial favors.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's travel coordinator, Rachel Risby-Raz, was indicted on Thursday on charges including fraud and breach of trust for her role in the Rishon Tours case.

The move to indict Rachel Risby-Raz follows the decision by the State Prosecutor's Office to reject her statements in a hearing during the investigation.

Olmert has been accused of illegally double-billing charities and a government ministry for the same flights booked through Rishon Tours, sending them falsified receipts for travel expenses and using the surplus to finance family trips abroad.

Risby-Raz is suspected of aiding Olmert, together with his office director Shula Zaken, in the affair, which is one of several ongoing corruption probes against the former premier.

Olmert, the indictment said, developed connections with foreign organizations and personalities during his terms as mayor of Jerusalem, and as Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor and as substitute finance minister.

The indictment also charges that Olmert and Zaken "abused Mr. Olmert's connections in favor of a systematic, years-long, activity of acquiring financial favors for Mr. Olmert."

The falsified documents, the indictment said, included inflated travel costs and itineraries that were changed. Olmetr and Zaken allegedly passed the fraudulent documentation over to the organizations to justify their excess costs.

"All of these actions were done by Mr. Olmert, Mrs. Zaken, and the accused in a manner contrary to the norms and regulations which bind a minister and public servants, a manner of fraud and breach of trust," the indictment said.