Israel prosecutor weighs bribery probe into deal involving PM Olmert

[JURIST] An internal memo circulated in the Israeli State Prosecutor's Office has called for an immediate investigation into possible criminal actions taken by Prime Minister Ehmud Olmert [official website; BBC profile] involving bids on a controlling interest in a bank stretching back to 2005. Olmert is suspected of accepting bribery since a friend seeking approval of his bid overpaid for Olmert's house and then allowed Olmert to rent it at a low price while he served as Minister of Finance. The Prosecutor's Office report is based on interim findings of the state comptroller, suggesting that Olmert was involved in some impropriety. The report has not been officially adopted by the Office or by Israel's Attorney General. The Prime Minister's office has denied the allegations, asserting that one of the implicated businessmen did not make a tender offer on the bank, while the other did not win the bid.

Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz [official profile] will probably decide whether to accept the prosecutors' recommendation in the next few days, but he is expected to request a full report from the comptroller before he orders a formal investigation. Meanwhile, the state comptroller reported Monday that it uncovered significant evidence that Olmert made improper political appointments to administrative positions while Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, and that it recommends a criminal probe into the appointments. Haaretz has more.

 

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