Court in Israel Convicts Olmert on Bribery Charges

On Monday, a court in Israel convicted Ehud Olmert the former Prime Minister in a bribery case. The verdict could put him behind bars and crushed any hope he had for a comeback politically.

The new development seals the legal battle that was the most serious for the 68-year old veteran politician, which caused him to step down in 2009 as the prime minister amidst a number of allegations of corruption.

The verdict capped off his political career that saw the politician transform himself from a backbencher with a sharp tongue in the Likud Party to a global statesman whose hope for peace between his country and the Palestinians came to a crashing halt because of legal problems.

In a Tel Aviv court on Monday the decision was handed down in the real estate case that was related to the activities of Olmert prior to his becoming the prime minister back in 2006.

Thirteen officials from the government along with developers and other people in business were charged in three individual schemes that related to the housing development Holyland in Jerusalem, in what has been regarded as possibly the biggest scandal involving corruption ever to be exposed in Israel.

Sentencing was set to be handed down on April 28. Experts in the legal field in Israel said Olmert’s conviction would almost certainly mean prison time for the former prime minister.

According to the 2012 original indictment, millions of dollars changed hands illegally to promote a number of projects involving real estate, including the housing development in Jerusalem that was so controversial, which required wholesale changes in zoning laws that earned its developers many tax breaks and other types of benefits.

Olmert had been charged for the acts committed during the time he was Jerusalem’s mayor and minister of trade and industry. He had been accused of accepting bribes in order to have the project pushed through.

The conviction brings a dramatic end to the long political career of Olmert, which has been dogged by corruption allegations, which rarely stuck until Monday.

It was thought if Olmert had survived these legal woes he would have been an alternative on the center left against Benjamin Netanyahu the current prime minister.

Leave a Reply

© 2006-2016 Mideast Time.