Israeli ex-prime minister Olmert to serve six years for bribery
TEL AVIV, May 13 (RAPSI) - The Tel Aviv District Court has sentenced former prime minister of Israel Ehud Olmert to six years in prison for accepting bribes in exchange for lobbying for the construction of the Holyland luxury residential project in Jerusalem.
Olmert is the first Israeli government executive to receive actual prison time and, assuming an unsuccessful appeal bid, will become the second highest-profile convict in the country after ex-president Moshe Katsav, currently in jail for rape.
The Holyland case is related to Olmert’s activity as mayor of Jerusalem in the 1990s and early 2000s. The scandal was one of the reasons he resigned from the prime minister’s post and the reason his political career has ground to a halt.
Ehud Olmert became prime minister of Israel in 2006 after his predecessor and fellow party member Ariel Sharon had a stroke and slipped into a coma. Olmert presented himself as a leftist politician. His three-year premiership was marked by resumed peace talks with the Palestinians and Syria, the 2006 Lebanon War which most people in Israel see as a failure, and the invasion of the Gaza Strip that killed over a thousand Palestinians. Olmert resigned in September 2008 as a result of several corruption scandals but remained in power until March 2009 when the post was taken over by current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.