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Olmert convicted for taking bribes in Holyland scandal

JTA

March 31, 2014 | 9:59 am

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the Tel Aviv District Court on March 31. Photo by Dan Balilty/Reuters

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the Tel Aviv District Court on March 31. Photo by Dan Balilty/Reuters

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 verdict on Monday morning in what has been called the country’s largest corruption scandal. Olmert is facing up to 10 years in prison.

[How Israel gained and lost from Olmert’s guilty verdict]

Nine other former senior Olmert associates and businessmen also were found guilty on various charges, including former Olmert bureau chief Shula Zaken, who agreed last week 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 in his decision said “Olmert’s statement doesn’t reflect reality; Olmert lied in court.”

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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