Israel’s state prosecution, which is pursuing an appeal of former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s acquittal in the so-called Talansky affair, announced Tuesday that it wished to admit new evidence in the case.
In 2012 the Jerusalem District Court cleared the ex-politician of accepting undeclared contributions from American businessman Morris Talansky,
Citing recordings and other evidence supplied by Olmert’s former aide, Shula Zaken, the prosecution asked the Supreme Court to allow it to present the new findings to the Jerusalem District Court.
The prosecution said the evidence showed Olmert had used the funds provided by Talansky for personal gain, proving conclusively that he had taken them as bribes.
The prosecution has also appealed Olmert’s acquittal in the Rishon Tours affair, in which he was cleared of holding a travel slush fund.
In a March 2014 hearing, during which it reluctantly agreed to a plea bargain with Zaken, the prosecution said the information on the tapes she had supplied, which dealt with Olmert’s involvement in the Holyland, Rishon Tours and Talansky affairs, could be used to send Olmert to prison “for at least nine years.”
In the plea bargain, Zaken promised to testify against him not only in the Holyland real estate case in which he was convicted, and for which he was sentenced this month to six years in prison, but also, if needed, in the two major corruption cases in which he was acquitted two years ago and which the state is in the process of appealing in the Supreme Court.
Zaken, who ran Olmert’s office both when he was mayor of Jerusalem and when he was prime minister, provided “significant” new evidence against Olmert, including recordings, documents and other material, to support allegations that he sought to obstruct justice in the Holyland affair — and, the prosecution said, possibly in the Talansky affair as well.
In conversations with state prosecutors earlier this year, Zaken was said to have alleged that Olmert put money given to him by American Jewish businessman Talansky to private use — to buy suits, pens, cigars and overseas holidays — rather than using it to fund his political campaigns.
She also reportedly said that, in the so-called Rishon Tours affair, Olmert knew all the details of an alleged double billing scheme for his various trips abroad. According to the allegations, more than one organization would sponsor the same trip, allowing the then-prime minister to accrue funds which he used to finance family flights and upgrades to first class.