Olmert to be questioned Sunday on new allegations

Olmert to be questioned Sunday on new allegations

Police to probe ex-premier over claims by former aide that he tried to obstruct justice in Holyland trial

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert (photo credit: Oren Nahshon/Flash90/File)
Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert (photo credit: Oren Nahshon/Flash90/File)

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert will be investigated by police on Sunday on suspicion of obstruction of justice, days after his conviction for bribery in the Holyland affair.

Olmert will be questioned at the Lahav 433 crime unit headquarters in Lod, following claims by his former aide Shula Zaken, who asked to turn state’s witness against Olmert last month, that the embattled ex-premier attempted to hamper the investigation into the corrupt dealings for which he was convicted on Monday.

Zaken had attempted to parlay evidence in her possession, including tapes she claimed would prove the obstruction allegation, in exchange for a plea bargain that would reduce her sentence for her part in the Holyland case. Zaken was convicted in the Holyland case this week, alongside Olmert and 11 other defendants.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rozen, who convicted Olmert, Zaken and eight others, decided not to wait for the obstruction evidence and delivered the verdict on Monday.

But state prosecutors and police now want to follow up on Zaken’s evidence, and met with Zaken on Thursday in the offices of the National Fraud Unit in Lod, Walla reported.

Meanwhile two of Olmert’s lawyers are facing questions over their conduct as a result of new testimony by Zaken, according to a Channel 10 report Friday.

Zaken claims that the two attorneys, while covertly protecting the interests of her former boss, advised her against taking a plea bargain early in the Holyland case. They will reportedly be called in for questioning within days.

Alfred Akirov, head of the Alrov Group, is also expected to be questioned under caution in relation to Zaken’s new testimony.

Zaken reportedly told police on Thursday that in 2013, Akirov employed her for several months — with a monthly salary of NIS 25,000 (some $7,000) — at Olmert’s request. The implication being that Olmert was attempting to keep her quiet with Akirov’s help.

Akirov responded Friday that there was nothing untoward in his employment of Zaken as a tourism consultant for several of his hotels in Jerusalem.

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