Israeli ex-Premier sentenced to 6 years jail for bribery

TEL AVIV (CIHAN)- Israeli court sentenced former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to six years in prison for bribery.

Israeli media reports that, along with the jail sentence, Judge David Rosen ordered ex-Premier to pay a million shekels ($290.000) of fine.

Olmert was convicted on two charges of taking bribes in the amount of 560.000 shekels (160.000 $). The prison sentence of 68-year-old ex-Premier will begin on September 1.

According to the opinion of the court, Ehud Olmert is linked to a corruption scandal in major property development in Jerusalem.

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Ehud Olmert Born 30 September 1945) is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009 and before that as a cabinet minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006. Between his first and second stints as a cabinet member, he served as mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003.

In 2003 Olmert was re-elected to the Knesset (he had earlier served eight terms), and became a cabinet minister and acting prime minister in the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. On 4 January 2006, after Sharon suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke, Olmert began exercising the powers of the office of Prime Minister. Olmert led Kadima to a victory in the March 2006 elections (just two months after Sharon had suffered his stroke), and continued on as Acting Prime Minister. On 14 April, two weeks after the election, Sharon was declared permanently incapacitated, allowing Olmert to legally become Interim Prime Minister. Less than a month later, on 4 May, Olmert and his new, post-election government were approved by the Knesset, thus Olmert officially became prime minister of Israel.

Olmert and his government enjoyed healthy relations with the Fatah-led Palestinian National Authority, which culminated in November 2007 at the Annapolis Conference. However, during his tenure as prime minister, there were major military conflicts with both Hezbollah and Hamas (predominately in the Gaza Strip). Olmert and Minister of Defense Amir Peretz were heavily criticized for their handling of the 2006 Lebanon War. In late 2008, a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel ended, which led to the 2008 Israel-Gaza conflict. Olmert declared that the Israeli Defense Force would target the Hamas leadership and infrastructure in the war.

Throughout his premiership, Olmert was accused of corruption. Facing a challenge for the leadership of Kadima from Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, on 30 July 2008, Olmert announced that he would not seek re-election as party leader and that he would resign from his position as Prime Minister immediately after a new Kadima leader was named. Livni won the contest and sought to form a new government in September of that year. However, Livni’s attempts at forming a new government were unsuccessful, and instead an election was scheduled for February 2009. On 20 February, Israeli President Shimon Peres chose Benjamin Netanyahu to become the new Prime Minister and asked him to form a coalition government, after there was no clear victory in the elections. Netanyahu succeeded Olmert on 31 March 2009.

On 30 August 2009, an indictment against Olmert was served at the Jerusalem District Court. The indictment included the following five criminal counts: obtaining by fraud under aggravating circumstances, fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate documents, and tax evasion. The indictment refers to three out of the four corruption-related cases outstanding against him: “Rishon Tours”, “Talansky” (also known as the “money envelopes” affair), and the “Investment Center”.

In July 2012, he was convicted on one count of “breach of trust” and acquitted on two fraud counts. In March 2014, he was convicted of briberyand he was sentenced in May to six years’ imprisonment.

SOURCE: CIHAN

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