Former Israeli PM Granted Early Release from Prison
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Ehud Olmert remains unaccountable for 2006 naked aggression on Lebanon and premeditated December 2008 – January 2009 war on Gaza – high crimes of war and against humanity.
On January 5, 2012, he and over a dozen others were indicted for allegedly giving and/or receiving bribes related to various real estate deals.
He was charged with taking bribes worth 1.5 million NISs (Israeli New Shekels – around $450,000).
The so-called Holyland case made headlines. It’s a Jerusalem luxury housing project. Olmert was mayor at the time. Later he was Israel Land Administration minister.
He was involved in municipal corruption, complicit with real estate crooks, a watershed case rife with bribes, kickbacks and cronyism.
Indictments came nearly two years after Holyland corruption made headlines. Developers got huge tax breaks, additional building rights, and other benefits worth tens of millions of dirty dollars.
Olmert and other Jerusalem officials took lucrative bribes. He was implicated in earlier financial crimes.
In 1988, he was involved in forging Likud party campaign donation receipts. Others were convicted. He got off scot-free.
In July 2013, he was acquitted of Rison Tours and Talansky corruption charges. He was convicted only of breach of trust in the Investment Center case.
Observers called it one of Israel’s most significant corruption trials. Olmert was accused of double-billing $92,000. Along with his involvement in the Talansky affair, he was only convicted of a minor breach of trust for failing to disqualify himself from oversight over various financial transactions.
The case forced his resignation as prime minister. Holyland charges remained. He was convicted on two counts of bribery, acquitted on other corruption charges.
Crime in high places usually goes unpunished. Convicting a former Israeli prime minister was unprecedented.
In May 2014, he was sentenced to six years imprisonment for bribery. In late December 2015, Israel’s High Court reduced his sentence to 18 months – extended by one month for obstruction of justice.
In mid-February 2016, he began serving a 19-month sentence. In September 2016, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected his appeal, adding eight more months to his term.
On Thursday, Israel’s parole board granted him an early release, effective July 2 – commuting one-third of his 27-month sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice.
His release comes with conditions. H must undergo so-called rehabilitation, performed by volunteer charity work.
He’s to report to police twice monthly. Prosecutors opposed his early release over suspicions that he exposed secret information potentially damaging to state security while writing his book.
Conviction on civil crimes ignored his much higher ones on Lebanon and Palestinians – how the system works in Israel, Western countries and most others.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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