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As Olmert ponders return to public life, the state appeals against his corruption acquittal

February 17, 2014 at 11:19 pm

The State Attorney’s Office in Israel has filed an appeal in Supreme Court against the acquittals of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on charges of corruption, public betrayal and the receipt of bribes.

The move comes as Olmert ponders a move back into public life by standing in the coming Israeli election. Observers believe that the Attorney General’s move will block Olmert’s attempt to return to political life.

In its appeal to the Supreme Court regarding the Rishon Tours case, the Attorney General demanded that the court rejects the findings and decision of the lower court, which found there to be “reasonable doubt” about the extent of Olmert’s involvement.

Haaretz newspaper said that the state’s appeal was unexpected by jurists. It came after months of hesitation since the lower court acquitted Olmert of most of the serious charges brought against him; he was only found guilty of a relatively minor “breach of trust” in the investment scandal.

Commenting on Obama’s re-election in the US, Olmert accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of interfering in the American election for the benefit of Republican candidate Mitt Romney on behalf of rich American Sheldon Adelson. Olmert said that Netanyahu’s behaviour was a breach of basic protocol for relations between states, especially when it comes to allies such as Israel and the United States of America.

A source close to Olmert claimed that by waiting until the last moment before submitting the appeal, the State Attorney’s Office is trying to influence his decision on whether or not to return to the political arena. Olmert had said that he would wait until after the US election before making his decision. A statement from his spokesperson insisted that the appeal is evidence of the prosecution’s “relentless persecution” of the ex-Prime Minister.