A US businessman caught up in a corruption case involving former prime minister Ehud Olmert testified on Sunday that he gave tens of thousands of dollars to Olmert’s brother.
The prosecution, in what has become known as the “Holyland Affair” trial, presented Morris Talansky with documents showing that he transferred $30,000 to the prime minister’s brother, Yossi Olmert, in November 2004. Talansky responded that the then-prime minister had asked him to help Yossi Olmert, who was going through a financial crisis.
Amir Dan, media adviser to the former prime minister, rejected the claim.
“Talansky’s testimony is the opposite of what he told the police,” he said.
Dan went on to scoff at Talansky’s credibility and made references to a previous case in which Olmert was acquitted last year.
“We have already shown that we are talking about a lying witness, and the Jerusalem court has made strong assertions about him,” he said.
In that case, known as the Talansky Affair, Talansky told the judges he had given Olmert envelopes of cash, but the judges found his testimony lacking and acquitted Olmert of improper dealings.
The Holyland Affair, billed as Israel’s largest corruption scandal, revolves around a real estate development project in which dozens of city officials, including Olmert, who was mayor of Jerusalem at the time, are accused of accepting bribes. The Holyland project spawned an extensive Jerusalem development whose initiators allegedly were able to far exceed their original mandate by paying off officials.