Israel ex-PM given suspended sentence, fine for breaching public trust

[JURIST] The Jerusalem District Court [Times of Israel news archive] on Monday sentenced former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert [official profile; JURIST news archive] to a one-year suspended sentence and a fine of about USD $19,000 on a charge of breaching public trust. The conviction stems from Olmert's role in a corruption case that forced him to resign from office in 2008 despite being eventually cleared of the corruption charge. In July the court found that Olmert had been illegally granting favors [JURIST report] to a long-time friend and business partner while serving as minister of industry, trade and labor between 2002 and 2007. Olmert's light sentence [BBC report] allows him to run for parliament, though he will remain barred from serving in the cabinet throughout his upcoming corruption trial. Former Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel has reportedly not ruled out an appeal [INN report] of the decision.

In July Olmert was acquitted of the key charges [Reuters report] that, as a cabinet minister and Jerusalem's mayor before becoming prime minister, he received USD $150,000 in bribes from US businessman Moshe Talansky, and that he defrauded Israeli charities by double-billing them for overseas fundraising trips, a charge popularly referred to as the Rishon Tours double-billing affair. The former prime minister has maintained his innocence throughout a series of scandals, including a plea of not guilty to three corruption charges in December 2009 that encompass the Talansky scandal and the Rishon Tours affair [JURIST reports]. Before he resigned, Israeli police raided Olmert's offices as part of the corruption investigation [JURIST reports] launched by the Israeli Ministry of Justice. Despite acquittals, Olmert still faces bribery charges [JURIST report] related to the construction of a luxury apartment complex during his 10-year tenure as mayor of Jerusalem. Olmert was indicted on the bribery charges in the case in January of this year after having been officially named as a suspect [JURIST report] in the investigation in April 2010.

 

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