Olmert Withdraws Suit Against Yedioth Reporter

The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court acceded this week to Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's request to nullify a libel suit Olmert had filed against a Yedioth Ahronoth reporter who wrote about his alleged connection to the Greek island affair, a bribe scandal involving the Sharon family.

The suit named Mordechai Gilat, a journalist for the Yedioth daily who wrote the article along with two other reporters. The article dealt with the ties that real estate developer David Appel had with Ariel Sharon and Olmert. Appel is suspected of paying large bribes to Sharon's son Gilad in the late 1990s, in an effort to get Sharon to help him build a gambling resort on a Greek island.

"The fact that Ehud Olmert decided to nullify his lawsuit speaks for itself," said Yedioth attorney Mibi Moser. "I guess he has good reasons for doing so."

Olmert's attorney, Eli Zohar, attributed the decision to "the tasks of the plaintiff as acting prime minister."

Gilat's article, which appeared three years ago, said Olmert's assistant had requested funding for the 1999 primaries, in which Olmert ran against Sharon and Meir Sheetrit for the Likud leadership. Gilat has said the report is accurate and in the public interest.