Ehud Olmert asks president to erase his criminal record

Move would clear way for disgraced former PM, who served 16 months for graft, to return to politics

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert in a Keshet TV interview broadcast on March 17, 2018 (Keshet screenshot)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert in a Keshet TV interview broadcast on March 17, 2018 (Keshet screenshot)

Disgraced former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who served 16 months behind bars for bribery, appealed to President Reuven Rivlin on Monday to erase his criminal record.

Such a move would allow Olmert, 72, to return to politics.

Olmert recently published a book in which he proclaimed his innocence and heaped the blame for his downfall on “right-wing extremist forces,” backed by faceless Jewish American billionaires.

The president’s office said the request had been forwarded to the relevant authorities and that after legal opinions were received, it would be put before the president as is customary in pleas for pardons.

The Movement for Quality Government urged Rivlin to reject the request, given the gravity of Olmert’s offenses.

Then-prime minister Ehud Olmert speaks during the appointment of Reuven Rivlin as Knesset speaker, March 30, 2009. (Kobi Gideon/Flash 90)

Olmert was released from prison in July 2017. His request for a presidential pardon while he was still behind bars was turned down.

However, the president did agree to shorten Olmert’s 27-month sentence to the time he had actually served, thereby releasing him from parole restrictions imposed after his early release from prison.

Rivlin’s decision freed Olmert to travel abroad and released him from the requirement to check in with his local police station twice each month for 11 months.

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