Olmert asks Rivlin for criminal record to be wiped
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Olmert asks Rivlin for criminal record to be wiped

Disgraced former PM, who served 16 months for graft, presents formal request; expunging record would remove the ‘moral turpitude’ preventing him from running for office

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert speaks at a briefing at UN headquarters in New York with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on February 11, 2020. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP)
Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert speaks at a briefing at UN headquarters in New York with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on February 11, 2020. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP)

Disgraced former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who served 16 months behind bars for bribery, on Tuesday presented a formal request to President Reuven Rivlin asking for his criminal record to be cleared, two years and a half years after he was released from prison.

The request noted Olmert’s “work for the state during his time as prime minister,” according to the Haaretz daily.

Wiping Olmert’s criminal record clean would remove the “moral turpitude” ruling that prevents him from running for public office for seven years after his release.

Olmert had appealed to the president in 2018, ahead of Israel’s 70th independence celebrations. He later withdrew his appeal, saying he realized it would not be granted, Hebrew media reported at the time.

That same year he published a book in which he proclaimed his innocence and heaped the blame for his downfall on “right-wing extremist forces” backed by unnamed Jewish American billionaires.

Olmert was one of eight former officials and businessmen convicted in March 2014 in the Holyland real estate corruption case, which has been characterized as among the largest graft cases in Israel’s history.

In September 2016, he was sentenced to an additional eight months behind bars for the so-called Talansky affair, bringing the total to 27. In that case, a court upheld a 2015 conviction over his accepting envelopes full of cash from American businessman and fundraiser Morris Talansky, in exchange for political favors during his decade-long term as mayor from 1993 to 2003.

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

Olmert was released from prison in July 2017. A request for a presidential pardon made 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 a month for 11 months.

Last week, Olmert met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in New York City to discuss US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.

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