Less than a month after former prime minister Ehud Olmert was convicted in a massive graft scandal, the state prosecution announced Sunday that it would reopen investigations into two other affairs Olmert was cleared in two years ago, after new evidence was uncovered.
The prosecution will request to provide the Supreme Court with new evidence and will ask to receive a permit to collect further evidence as well, according to a statement issued by State Attorney Shai Nitzan.
The state prosecution is already appealing Olmert’s acquittal in the Rishon Tours affair, in which he was cleared of holding a travel slush fund, and in the Talansky affair, in which he was cleared of accepting undeclared contributions from American businessman Morris Talansky.
Nitzan said the new evidence was obtained during the investigation of Olmert’s longtime personal aide Shula Zaken, Channel 10 News reported. Nitzan added that the investigation was still in progress.
In March, Olmert was convicted in the Holyland affair, one of the worst corruption scandals in the country’s history. At the center of the case was the Holyland housing development, a hulking hilltop project that Jerusalem residents long suspected was tainted by corruption. The case broke in 2010 after Shmuel Dachner, a businessman who was involved in the project, turned state’s witness. Dachner died last year from an illness.
Zaken turned state’s witness a mere four days before the Holyland trial verdict, and accused Olmert of obstruction of justice and tampering with a witness. In her plea bargain, Zaken committed to provide testimony if and when required in the appeals related to the Rishon Tours and Talansky affair as well.
Following the Holyland trial verdict, Olmert was questioned over the Rishon Tours and Talansky affairs for several hours at the offices of the National Fraud Unit.
Nitzan did not specify the nature of the new evidence but said parts of it were recorded on tape by Zaken. He said that exposing the evidence at this point would harm the investigation.
On Monday, the courts are set to discuss Olmert’s sentence for his part in the Holyland affair.
The prosecution is expected to demand a 3 to 5 year long jail term, according to reports last week.
Elie Leshem contributed to this report