Olmert found guilty of accepting bribes in Holyland scandal

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was found guilty of accepting bribes in the Holyland corruption case.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen announced the conviction in what has been called the country’s largest corruption scandals, on Monday morning.  Olmert could face up to ten years in prison.

Nine other former senior Olmert associates and businessmen also were found guilty on various charges including former Olmert bureau chief Shula Zaken, who on Sunday had agreed to testify against Olmert in exchange for a plea bargain; former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski; and former chairman of Israel’s Bank Hapoalim, Danny Dankner.

Olmert, who was convicted of receiving about $150,000 in bribes through his brother, Yossi, becomes the first former Israeli prime minister to be convicted of taking a bribe.

Rosen said in his decision that Olmert lied in court. “Olmert’s statement doesn’t reflect reality – Olmert lied in court,” the judge said.

Olmert resigned as prime minister in September 2008 after police investigators recommended that he be indicted in multiple corruption scandals.

The Jerusalem District Court acquitted Olmert in 2012 on charges of fraud, breach of trust, tax evasion and falsifying corporate records in what became known as the Talansky and Rishon Tours affairs. He was found guilty on a charge of breach of trust in what is known as the Investment Center case; he appealed the verdict.

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