Olmert to Chair Livnat Group

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert will be appointed the chairman of the Avraham Livnat Group; the Livnat family is one of Nochi Dankner's partners controlling the IDB group via holdings in the privately held Ganden Group.

Much of Olmert's brief will be developing the family's businesses and expanding them overseas, said the Livnat Group.

"As part of his job, Olmert will assist the Livnat family in most of their activities in Israel, except for issues concerning the partnership in the IDB group, where the family is represented by Zvi and Shay Livnat," said the group.

The Avraham Livnat Group specializes in logistics, retailing, manufacturing, energy, agriculture and real estate, both in Israel and abroad.

Olmert set up his own consulting firm, Ehud Olmert Consulting Services, soon after leaving office.

Avraham Livnat, the group's controlling owner, said yesterday that he has known Olmert for many years. He said the appointment was not connected to Olmert's former position as prime minister.

"The relationship between Ehud Olmert and my family started even before the state was founded, when I served as an instructor in the Etzel [pre-state right-wing militia] and I was sent to Shuni near Binyamina," he said. "As a Holocaust refugee, without any nuclear family in Israel, I was invited a number of times to Shabbat meals in the house of Ehud Olmert's father in [the neighborhood] Nahalat Jabotinsky. The relationship between the Olmert family and myself will never be forgotten."

When Olmert served as industry, trade and labor minister he was involved in the decision to levy import duties on cement from Turkey, at the request of the Nesher cement plant, which is part of the IDB group. Nesher is a declared monopoly and controls 90% of the Israeli cement market.

Olmert is currently on trial at Jerusalem District Court on suspicion of tax fraud, breach of trust, forging corporate documents and fraudulent receiving.