Olmert Used Holyland Funds to Support Campaigns, Prosecutor Tells Court

Suspicions against former prime minister Ehud Olmert in the Holyland bribery affair are centered on the transferring of funds for political campaigns, Deputy Jerusalem District Prosecutor Uri Corb said yesterday.

"I would like to inform the court regarding a statement made at the start of an investigation that could be relevant to deliberations here," Corb said at the beginning of a court session on the case that revolves around the Holyland residential project in Jerusalem.

"In recent months an intensive and unprecedented investigation has been underway. It is in its final stages. The suspicions also relate to the suspects here [Olmert and his bureau chief Shula Zaken] and other suspects.

As we had expected, there is a correlation between the new investigative material and the materials in this case - especially in terms of the evidence on the funding of Olmert's political campaigns and the investment center [affair]. We are weighing the significance of the findings in terms of this case."

Corb added that in the near future new evidence would be presented and the results of the investigation into the Holyland affair would be delivered to Olmert's attorneys. He noted that "it is not one or two folders."

Deliberations in Olmert's trial ended today for the summer break. They will resume in early September with the testimony of Rachael Risby-Raz, Olmert's travel coordinator. She is considered a key witness in the Rishon Tours double-billing affair.

Earlier this week Olmert was questioned for the third time in the Holyland case. Olmert was questioned under caution on suspicion of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and money laundering.

Judges Moussia Arad, Jacob Zaban and Moshe Sobel have been keen for the proceedings to go quickly, so they have insisted on holding three long sessions each week. But the judges have only managed to hear a small number of witnesses on the prosecution's list.

The testimonies of most witnesses in the Rishon Tours affair have been heard.

Witnesses in other cases in the indictment, including the "cash envelopes" and investment center affairs, are linked to the Holyland affair, so the prosecution asked that the hearing of their testimonies be delayed.