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Former Israeli Prime Minister Indicted on Multiple Corruption Charges

Ehud Olmert on Sunday became the first Israeli to hold the office of prime minister and be indicted on criminal charges. Combining the findings of three separate investigations, the State Prosecutor’s Office indicted Olmert on charges of fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate records and tax evasion. Olmert’s longtime bureau chief and confidant, Shula Zaken, was also indicted on charges of falsifying corporate records, fraudulently obtaining benefits, fraud and breach of trust, and illegal wiretapping. Attorneys for Olmert opted to waive his right to a hearing prior to the issuance of the indictment, accusing the Attorney General of not having an “open mind” in the matter. The former Prime Minister’s legal team expressed confidence that Olmert will ultimately be exonerated. One case revolves around thousands of dollars in cash received from an American businessman over the course of a number of years. The government claims Olmert aided his business projects in return for the money. Some legal observers see the second matter as government’s most solid case against Olmert: the alleged multiple-billing of non-profit organizations for whom Olmert spoke at fundraising events in the United States. The government says when Olmert would, for instance, speak for three organizations, he would bill each one the total cost of his travel expenses, pocketing the difference to use for personal travel extravagances.