Olmert Grilled Over Alleged Money Transfers to His Brother

Ex-PM suspected of helping developers promote Holyland residential project in Jerusalem in return for more than NIS 1 million in bribes.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was questioned yesterday for about seven hours in connection with the Holyland real estate corruption affair. The former prime minister is suspected of helping developers promote their business interests including the development of the Holyland residential project in Jerusalem, in return for the payment of more than NIS 1 million in bribes. The suspicions relate to periods in which Olmert was Jerusalem's mayor and when he was industry, trade and labor minister, a position which also made him responsible for the Israel Lands Administration.

Yesterday's interrogation, the third in the Holyland case with Olmert, was conducted at the National Fraud Unit Investigation headquarters in Lod, and centered around depositions the police conducted in the United States recently. The depositions included testimony of the former prime minister's brother, Yossi Olmert, who has encountered financial difficulties.

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert

The police suspect that the former prime minister used the bribes he allegedly received to cover debts owed by his brother, and questioned the former premier yesterday about funds they suspect were transfered by a state witness, whose identity is barred from publication, to Yossi Olmert in the U.S.

Ehud Olmert said under interrogation yesterday that he is unaware of any such transfer of funds by the witness to Yossi Olmert.

In addition to the investigation of the former prime minister yesterday, two of Ehud Olmert's brothers, Amram and Yirmi, also testified to the unit yesterday, but the testimony was not taken under caution, meaning that the police are not implicating them in possible criminal wrongdoing.

The police wanted to find out the extent of money transfers in recent years to Yossi Olmert. Amram and Yirmi Olmert said most of the money sent to their brother Yossi was from the sale of family property they had inherited, and they were unaware of any transfers by the witness.