Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman denied on Tuesday that he had told the state witness in the Holyland trial that former prime minister Ehud Olmert was corrupt. The witness, known by his initials, S.D., said in court Monday that Liberman was one of several people who told him Olmert could be bribed to provide municipal approval for the real estate project.
“S.D.’s testimony regarding these things I supposedly told him are completely false,” Liberman said. He added that he only met the witness once, in a chance encounter in a hotel lobby, and never said anything to him about Olmert.
S.D. told the court that he met with Liberman in 1994, claiming that Liberman was then the Prime Minister’s Office bureau chief. Liberman rejected the statement, and noted that he only entered the post in 1996.
S.D. named Liberman after being compelled by the judge to specify who he was referring to when he said people had suggested to him that Olmert was bribable.
“Avigdor Liberman said Olmert was corrupt,” he said.
The Holyland case, involving building permits allegedly issued to real estate tycoons in exchange for bribes, is considered one of the largest corruption scandals in Israel’s history. It involves some 15 suspects, including former prime minister Olmert and former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski.