Olmert among officials to be indicted in Holyland affair (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV LAPPIN 03/15/11)
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Former prime minister Ehud Olmert will face trial on charges of
allegedly receiving bribes as Jerusalem mayor and as a government
minister in exchange for promoting Jerusalem’s massive Holyland real
estate development, state prosecutors announced on Monday.
In August 2010, police completed the Holyland bribery investigation,
describing it as the largest alleged bribery scandal ever exposed in
Israeli law enforcement history, and a milestone in the war against
Tel Aviv state prosecutors said Monday that Olmert, together with 17
other suspects, would be tried following a hearing.
Olmert’s spokesman, Amir Dan, slammed the prosecutors’ announcement,
telling Channel 10 on Monday evening that the state prosecution was a
body “with enormous power that it is using improperly.” He charged
that the announcement on plans to try the former prime minister had
reached the media before it reached Olmert’s defense attorneys.
Olmert denies having taken bribes at any stage, and accused the
prosecution’s state witness, whom he described as an untrustworthy
individual, of inventing the plot, Dan said. The state witness cannot
Earlier on Monday, state prosecutors said in a statement
that “according to evidence acquired, a long line of public officials
and elected officials at the Jerusalem Municipality allegedly
accepted bribes in order to promote the Holyland project and the
economic interests of its backers. They include former prime minister
and Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert, former Jerusalem mayor Uri
Lupolianski and former head of Olmert’s bureau Shula Zaken.”
Other suspects included former Jerusalem deputy mayors Eliezer
Simhayof, Yehoshua Pollack and Haim Miller, as well as municipal
engineer Uri Sheetrit. They have all denied the allegations against
Prosecutors believe evidence also exists to try businessman Hillel
Charni, the main landowner in the Holyland development, for allegedly
giving millions in bribes to gain approval for very the large
Bribes were given between 1994 and 2007 in unprecedented quantities,
totaling several million shekels, prosecutors charged.
Later, businessman Avigdor Kelner and additional suspects purchased
parts of the real estate, and allegedly gave millions in bribes to
promote construction too, prosecutors added. Kelner, too, maintains
Meir Rabin is suspected of acting as the main intermediary, allegedly
passing along bribes from businessmen to officials, prosecutors said.
Rabin has denied the suspicions against him as well.
In a separate but related investigation, prosecutors said former Bank
Hapoalim and Israel Salt Industries head Dan Dankner paid NIS 1.5
million in bribes to the former head of the Israel Lands Authority,
Ya’acov Efrati, and Olmert when the latter served as industry, trade
and labor minister, in order to promote the interests of the Zera
land development company and gain construction permits on land
intended for agriculture.
In a third investigation, prosecutors said, Dankner will be indicted
for allegedly paying NIS 1.3m. in bribes to Efrati (through Rabin) in
exchange for gaining permission to convert Israel Salt Industries
land into residential real estate development zones. Dankner has
denied all of the allegations against him. (© 1995 - 2011 The
Jerusalem Post. 03/15/11)
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