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Olmert isn’t alone: Crime and corruption among Israel’s political elite

Reuters

March 31, 2014 | 12:01 pm

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at Jerusalem District court on July 10, 2012. Photo by Gali Tibbon/Pool/Reuters

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at Jerusalem District court on July 10, 2012. Photo by Gali Tibbon/Pool/Reuters

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was found guilty of corruption on Monday in a case revolving around a contested real estate deal during his time as Jerusalem mayor.

Here is a look at some prominent Israeli politicians who were convicted of offences or forced to leave office because of indiscretions.

EHUD OLMERT: Olmert served as mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003 and became prime minister in 2006, but quit two years later when various allegations of corruption surfaced. He was largely acquitted in one major case in 2012, but any hopes he might have had of a political comeback have been killed off by Monday's bribery conviction tied to the construction of the Holyland apartment complex in Jerusalem. Another former mayor of the city, Uri Lupolianski, was also found guilty in the same case.

MOSHE KATSAV: The former Israeli president has been serving a seven-year prison term since December 2011 after being convicted of raping an aide when he was a cabinet minister in the late 1990s. He was also convicted of molesting or sexually harassing two other women employees during his 2000-2007 term as president.

TZACHI HANEGBI: An influential legislator and confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hanegbi was convicted of perjury in July 2010. A court determined that his offence involved "moral turpitude", effectively stripping him of his seat in parliament under Israeli law. He returned to parliament last year.

AVRAHAM HIRCHSON: A former finance minister, Hirchson was jailed for five years and five months in June 2009 for financial offences that included stealing more than $500,000 from a trade union he led before becoming a cabinet member in 2006.

SHLOMO BENIZRI: A former cabinet minister and member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Benizri was sentenced in June 2009 to four years in prison for taking bribes. He was freed in March 2012.

HAIM RAMON: A former justice minister once touted as a possible future prime minister, Ramon was convicted of sexual misconduct in 2007 for forcibly kissing a woman soldier who served in the office of then-prime minister Olmert. He was sentenced to community service and returned to politics, serving in Olmert's cabinet and as a lawmaker until June 2009.

GONEN SEGEV: Segev, a physician who served as energy and infrastructure minister from 1992 to 1995, was jailed for five years in 2005 for trying to smuggle more than 30,000 ecstasy tablets into Israel from the Netherlands and forging a diplomatic passport. He was released in 2007.

YITZHAK MORDECHAI: A former defense minister, once a rising star in Israeli politics and a retired general, Mordechai was sentenced to an 18-month suspended jail term in 2001 after being convicted of two counts of sexual assault during his 32-year army career.

EZER WEIZMAN: The popular Weizman resigned as president in 2000, three years before his second term was due to end, after the attorney-general found he had accepted more than $300,000 in cash gifts from businessmen from 1985 to 1993. Weizman was not put on trial. He died in 2005.

ARYEH DERI: Then-leader of Shas, Deri was ordered by the Supreme Court to resign from the cabinet in 1993 over corruption charges. He was sentenced in 1999 to three years in prison. He was reinstated as head of Shas in 2012 and returned to parliament last year.

Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Gareth Jones

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