Israel's ex-PM Olmert found guilty in corruption case

Israel's ex-PM Olmert found guilty in corruption case

JERUSALEM - A Jerusalem court found former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert guilty of corruption Monday over allegations that he received envelopes of cash from a US businessman, Israeli media reported.

The former premier, who already faces a six-year prison sentence in a separate bribery case that he has appealed to the supreme court, will be sentenced on May 5, the reports said.

Olmert's lawyers said he would appeal the latest conviction.

The 69-year-old had initially been acquitted of fraud and corruption in the case, escaping with a $19,000 fine and a suspended jail sentence for breach of trust in 2012.

But new evidence came to light during his trial in the other corruption case and prosecutors again pressed the two more serious charges.

In return for a reduction in sentence, his former secretary and confidante Shula Zaken revealed that secret tape recordings existed of conversations between her and Olmert about the tens of thousands of dollars that he was alleged to have received from businessman Morris Talansky while trade and industry minister in the early 2000s.

The six-year prison sentence handed down against Olmert in May last year was the first ever against a former Israeli premier for corruption.

After a two-year trial, he was convicted of taking bribes to the tune of 560,000 shekels (now $160,000/116,000 euros) while mayor of Jerusalem between 1993 and 2003 from the developers of the city's massive Holyland residential complex.

The towering construction project, which dominates the city's skyline, is seen as a major blot on the landscape and widely reviled as a symbol of high-level corruption.

The veteran centre-right politician, who was first elected to parliament in 1973, became premier in 2006 but resigned in September 2008 after police recommended that he be indicted in several graft cases.

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