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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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Olmert sentenced to six years in prison for bribery conviction

Tags: Israel
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Ehud Olmert [Israel Sun photo]

JERUSALEM  — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years in prison for his conviction for accepting bribes in the Holyland corruption case.

Tuesday morning’s sentence would make him the first Israeli premier to be sent to prison.

Olmert also was fined $1 million shekels, or about $290,000, during his sentencing hearing in Tel Aviv District Court.

Olmert was convicted in March on two counts of bribery, for accepting about $150,000 from developers of the Holyland project, in what has been called the country’s largest corruption scandal. The project involved the development of high-rises in Jerusalem.

Olmert and six other men sentenced Tuesday morning were ordered to present themselves to the prisons service on Sept. 1.

Judge David Rozen ruled that Olmert’s conviction includes “moral turpitude,” which comes with a ban on seeking public office for at least seven years after the end of his sentence.

“Those who give bribes are corrupt, but those who receive it inspire disgrace and cause the public to lose faith in the State,” the judge said in the courtroom. “A public servant who accepts bribes is equivalent to a traitor.”

Olmert said in court that he never accepted bribes and vowed to appeal the conviction and the sentence. “I am proud of the decade in which I ran the honest city (of Jerusalem),” he said.

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 in that case, which centered on charges that he improperly involved himself in decisions benefiting his friend and former business partner Uri Messer.

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