View Full Version : Police: Charges Against Olmert In Bank Affair Hinge On Testimony

08-09-2007, 07:39 AM
Police: Charges against PM in bank affair hinge on testimony


By Jonathan Lis and Yair Ettinger, Haaretz Correspondents and Agencies

Police sources said on Wednesday that the determining factor in whether or not an indictment will be filed against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for his involvement in the Bank Leumi affair will be the testimony given by the prime minister himself.

Olmert is suspected of having attempted, in his former role as finance minister, to influence the tender for a Leumi sale in order to help his friend, Australian real estate mogul Frank Lowy, gain a controlling interest in the bank.

The sources said that the investigatory material thus far does not determine whether or not there is a basis strong enough to try Olmert in court.

The investigation was mostly completed in recent days, and is expected to be sealed by Olmert's testimony. The team from the National Fraud Investigation Unit involved in the case has not set a date with the prime minister's bureau for Olmert to give his testimony, but it is expected to take place in coming days.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz recused himself from the case because his sister, Yemima Mazuz, was involved in the Leumi sale as the Finance Ministry's legal adviser.

State Prosecutor Eran Shendar was appoinsted in place of Mazuz to direct the investigation team.

The tender for the bank's privatization was published in November 2005, four months after Olmert replaced Benjamin Netanyahu at the treasury.

During that time, Olmert demanded various changes to the tender, which he explained were aimed at encouraging strategic, rather than merely financial, investors to bid. However, law enforcement officials suspect that the changes were meant to help Lowy.