PM Complains Over Leaked Transcripts

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday lodged a complaint with Attorney General Menachem Mazuz after details of the police investigation into his finances were leaked to the press.

Olmert's attorney, Eli Zohar, requested Mazuz promptly launch a probe to find out who gave the media transcripts of Olmert's police questioning.

"The leaks from the prime minister's investigation have crossed all boundaries," Zohar wrote.

Transcripts from a May 2 interrogation, appeared in the daily Maariv yesterday. According to the transcripts, Olmert told investigators 58 different times that he could not answer their questions because he could not remember the details.

When investigators asked Olmert whether Morris Talansky, a Jewish-American fund-raiser who is suspected of giving Olmert illicit funds, had covered Olmert's stay at the Washington, D.C. Ritz Carlton on his credit card, Olmert replied: "I don't recall, but it is possible."

Later, Olmert was asked about a May 17, 2004 meeting with Talansky, immediately after Olmert landed in New York. The meeting was over in 15 minutes. When Olmert was asked what happened during the meeting, he said he had no comment.

In addition, Yedioth Ahronoth published a transcript from a May 23 interrogation yesterday. During that questioning session, Olmert admitted to receiving money from Talansky, but maintained he wasn't sure about some of the details. "It might have been a hundred dollars ... maybe a thousand or two," he said, when asked how much he had received.

During questioning, Olmert requested his interrogators document the questions and answers via a protocol. One of the investigators, who had been allotted an hour to quiz the premier, commented this would slow down the investigation.

"We won't get anything done," the investigator said. To this, Olmert replied: "I don't know what we will get done. You asked for an hour and I gave you an hour. I'm not trying to bog down your investigation."

Another attorney representing Olmert, Navot Tel Tzur, told the Jerusalem District Court yesterday that the media has crossed a new line. "It borders on disruption of proper procedure, and we call on the Prosecutor's Office to stop it," Tel Tzur said during Talansky's cross-examination.

State Prosecutor Moshe Lador concurred with Tel Tzur that leaks were a "serious problem," adding, "This is a problem for other cases as well. If we find the source of the leak, we will deal with those responsible with all the means at our disposal."

Lador added that he did not think the leak came from a public worker, including the police and the State Prosecutor's Office.

Olmert's media consultant, Amir Dan, said the publication of the transcriptions was "the best proof that the State Prosecutor's Office and police feel Talansky's testimony is crumbling in their hands." He added: "For them, this is the regular modus operandi. Every time something falls through, they go out and leak another bit to make up for it."