Talansky Lawyers Say Israel Aided U.S. Investigation

The State of Israel did not honor its promises to Morris (Moshe) Talansky, an American Jewish businessman who testified against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the man's attorneys said yesterday.

The attorneys said an investigation of Talansky in the United States was being conducted based on material provided by the Israeli authorities, despite assurances that this would not happen.

"It is easy to imagine how Mr. Talansky felt, considering he agreed to deliver his initial testimony on this matter under an explicit statement by the authorities that anything he said would not be used against him," Jacques Chen and Yehoshua Reznick wrote in a letter to the state prosecutor and the Jerusalem district prosecutor.

"In parallel, and without his knowledge, the Israeli authorities were feeding the U.S. authorities investigative material and the protocols of Talansky's testimony, which were used to conduct an investigation into Talansky's affairs in the U.S.," they said.

Talansky, 75, is at the center of one of the criminal investigations involving Olmert. The outgoing premier allegedly received $150,000 from Talansky over 15 years.

The financial favors allegedly came in exchange for assistance in Talansky's business ventures. He testified in May that Olmert had tried to help him by introducing him to several American billionaires.

In court, Talansky said there were no records of how his money was spent. "I only know that he loved expensive cigars. I know he loved pens, watches. I found it strange," Talansky told the court, then shrugged.

However, Talansky insisted that he never expected anything in exchange.