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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Former Israel PM Gets 6 Years for Bribery

Al Jazeera

Israel’s former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment on Tuesday for taking bribes, in a corruption case that resulted in the first criminal conviction of a former head of government in Israel.

Olmert had denied wrongdoing in a real estate deal that took place while he was in his previous post of Jerusalem mayor and minister of industry and trade.

His attorneys were expected to ask the Tel Aviv court that passed sentence to allow Olmert, 68, to remain free until the Supreme Court rules on an appeal against his March 31 conviction, a process that could take months.

Two years ago, the veteran politician was acquitted of most of the major charges brought against him in separate cases involving his links to a U.S. businessman.

Those corruption allegations forced Olmert to resign as prime minister in 2008, and his acquittal had appeared to position him for a possible political comeback.

But in the new corruption trial, Judge David Rozen found Olmert guilty of two bribery charges and said he accepted 500,000 shekels ($144,000) from developers of the Holyland apartment building complex in Jerusalem and 60,000 shekels ($17,000) in a separate real estate project.

From 1988 to 1990 Olmert served as a minister-without-portfolio for minority issues in Yitzhak Shamir’s national unity government. Olmert was health minister in the Likud government that followed and held that position for two years.

In 1993, Olmert became mayor of Jerusalem, beating the long-standing incumbent Teddy Kollek. He served two full terms in the post, and oversaw changes to the city’s education and transport systems, before quitting to become deputy prime minister.

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