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Former Israeli premier Olmert convicted of bribery: report

AFP-JIJI

Tel Aviv district court on Monday convicted former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a trial for corruption linked to a major property development in Jerusalem, Israeli media reports said.

The ruling marks the first time a former Israeli premier has been convicted of bribery in what has been called one of the worst corruption scandals in Israeli history.

According to public Channel 1 television, Olmert was convicted of receiving bribes in two cases, one of which was linked to construction of Jerusalem’s massive Holyland residential complex dating from when he was the city’s mayor.

Olmert was in 2010 named as the key suspect in the Holyland affair on suspicion that he received bribes totaling some 1.5 million shekels ($430,000), although the prosecution later reduced the sum received by about half.

Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003, after which he served as a Cabinet minister, holding the trade and industry portfolio as well as several others, before becoming premier in 2006.

He led the center-right Kadima party into government but resigned from the premiership in September 2008 after police recommended that he be indicted in several graft cases.

In July 2013, a Jerusalem court found Olmert guilty of breach of trust in a closely watched corruption case, but cleared him on two more serious charges related to the alleged receipt of cash-stuffed envelopes and multiple billing for trips abroad.

He was fined $19,000 and given a suspended jail sentence for graft.

The conviction related to favors that Olmert granted a former colleague while serving as the trade and industry minister.