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A bribery conviction against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

  • Author:Hopely Li
  • Release on:2016-01-21

Israel's Supreme Court Tuesday partially overturned a bribery conviction against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. His sentence was reduced from six years to 18 months in prison.

Olmert expressed relief, saying a great burden has been lifted from his heart.

The ex-prime minister, who is 70, was convicted two years ago by a lower court of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to promote a controversial real-estate project in Jerusalem. This allegedly occurred when he served as the mayor of Jerusalem, prior to becoming prime minister in 2006.

Olmert denies it.

He says, “I was never offered and I never took a bribe.” It is also still not clear how he is charged and how it happens, but I believe that I am innocent after the investigation. Nevertheless, while the Supreme Court overturned some of the bribery charges, it upheld others. Therefore, Olmert will become the first former Israeli leader to spend time behind bars.

State Prosecutor Liat Ben Ari says justice was served.

She says “the case represents a watershed in the war against corruption in Israel.” The justice system, Ben Ari says, has sent a strong message that “no one is above the law.” Later we will follow up with it closely.