Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has
been sentenced to eight months in prison for taking cash
from an American businessman.
He was also fined $25,700.
Police said Olmert received the money from 1993 through
2006, during his tenure as Jerusalem’s mayor and while
holding ministerial positions under former Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon. He took over as prime minister in 2006 after a
stroke incapacitated Sharon.
The new sentence is in addition to the six years in prison
Olmert is already facing for taking bribes related to a
controversial Jerusalem housing project — also while he
Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003. He
served as prime minister from 2006 to 2009.
The latest case involves American businessman Morris
Talansky told prosecutors he donated or loaned thousands
of dollars to Olmert for political reasons, but they also
appeared to pay for luxury expenses.
“I only know that he loved expensive cigars. I know he loved
pens, watches. I found it strange,” Talansky testified in
2009. He said he Olmert $150,000 in loans and direct
payments over 14 or 15 years.
Talansky provided colorful testimony, describing how he
would go to hotels and give cash-filled envelopes to Olmert.
He also told how he picked up Olmert’s $4,700 hotel bill at
the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. “He was the guest of my
credit card,” Talansky said.
In another instance, Olmert asked for a $15,000 loan, and
Talansky said he would like to see the money returned as
soon as possible.
“Famous last words,” said Talansky, explaining that he
hadn’t been repaid.
Olmert’s lawyers on Monday asked for a 45-day delay
before the sentence is carried out. They are expected to
appeal the sentence to the Supreme Court.