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Ex-Israeli PM indicted for bribery

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Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been indicted for involvement in bribery to advance the so-called Holyland luxury housing project in West al-Quds (Jerusalem).

On Thursday, Olmert was indicted along with 17 other Israelis suspected of offering or taking bribes to advance the Holyland project and various other real estate ventures in the occupied territories.

In April 2010, Olmert was charged with accepting bribes, when he was the mayor of al-Quds between 1993 and 2003, over the construction plan.

A prosecution witness, who acted as the middleman for the bribes, said that “in talks I held with Mayor Olmert, with chairman of the local planning and building committee Lupolianski and with members of the local committee, it was made clear to me that via the ‘give and take’ method, I could get [the benefits] I desired… I want to stress: The hints were from those people to me, not the reverse, because I wouldn’t have dared.”

In March 2011, Israel’s judiciary announced that there was enough evidence to indict 18 people, including Olmert, former al-Quds Mayor Uri Lupolianski and former Israel Lands Administration director Yaakov Efrati over the scandal.

Lupolianski was suspected of receiving bribes, money laundering and fraud, breach of trust, tax evasion and conspiracy in connection with the project.

The developer companies involved in the Holyland project were given huge tax breaks, additional building rights and other privileges.


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