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Former Israeli PM convicted of bribery

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been found guilty of accepting bribes, a Tel Aviv District Court ruled today.

According to the investigation conducted in this case, Olmert accepted bribes from the developer of the Holy Land Park when he was mayor of Jerusalem before becoming a prime minister (PM).

Judge David Rozen said that Olmert was paid hundreds of thousands of Israeli shekels in that case. Previously, Olmert denied several corruption allegations that led to his resignation as PM in 2008. He was then cleared by courts.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz said separate verdicts were issued for the trial’s 13 suspects. Hillel Cherney, owner of the Holy Land complex, the newspaper said, was convicted of bribing Jerusalem officials, as was Meir Rabin, the right-hand man to state witness Shmuel Dechner.

It also said that Avigdor Kellner, one of the founders of the Holy Land Park, was convicted of bribery charges but acquitted of other offences. Uri Lupolianski, who served as mayor of Jerusalem after Olmert, was convicted of accepting bribes.

Uri Shitrit, former chief engineer of Jerusalem municipality, was also convicted of accepting bribery. Yaakov Efrati, the head of the Israel Land Administration, was acquitted, as were Amnon Saffran and Shimon Galon, managers at the Holy Land Park.

Note: The headline of this piece was edited at 12.43 GMT+1 on March 31, 2014 – Ehud Olmert has been convicted of bribery, not charged.

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