Ehud Olmert Convicted of Bribery Charges
Former prime minister found guilty of accepting bribes for Holyland complex
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of bribery by a Tel Aviv district court on Monday morning. In addition to Olmert, who was found guilty of two of the four charges against him stemming from his role in the Holyland complex debable, 10 of 13 former officials were convicted as well, the New York Times reports.
The controversy over the Holyland complex came to light in 2010, when it was reported that Olmert, who oversaw the Israel Land Authorities, had allowed the Jerusalem site to become more than 12 times its allotted size. According to the Times, a judge then called it “one of the worst corruption affairs in Israeli history.” In court on Monday, a judge ruled that Olmert had, with the help of his brother Yossi, funneled nearly $143,000 in shekels from Shmuel Dechner, a businessman responsible for obtaining permits.
Judge David Rosen of Tel Aviv District Court declared on Monday that Mr. Olmert had “told lies in court” and said that his version of events “has been rejected by me in every way.” In a hearing stretching for nearly two hours and covered live on television, Judge Rosen deplored “a corrupt political system that has decayed over the years” and said “hundreds of thousands of shekels were transferred to elected officials.”
Olmert is not allowed to leave the country, and his sentence will be determined at an April 28 hearing.