Mixed verdict in trial of ex-Israel premier Olmert
TEL AVIV (MarketWatch) -- Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was acquitted Tuesday of corruption charges but convicted of one count of breach of trust.
In Jerusalem District Court, according to reports, the judges exonerated Olmert of charges involving fraud, falsifying records, tax evasion and improperly receiving benefits.
"This was not a personal matter of a good decision versus a bad decision," Olmert said after the verdict, according to the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot."The court ruled according to the evidence."
He called the conviction for breach of trust "a failure to follow proper procedure, not corruption," the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported.
His bureau chief, Shula Zaken, was convicted of two counts of fraud and breach of trust in the double-billing case. The Jerusalem Post quoted her as saying after the verdict that she "took one for the team" and "felt that the prosecution was using me as a tool."
The cases against Olmert had charged him with double billing for expenses, illegally accepting cash from a U.S. executive, and ensuring that a supporter received favors.
Prosecutors alleged that he'd committed the offenses while he was mayor of Jerusalem and then later as trade minister. The charges were brought later, while he was prime minister.
He became prime minister in early 2006 after Ariel Sharon was incapacitated by a stroke. He effectively resigned as premier in September 2008, when the police recommended that prosecutors charge him. He stayed on through March 2009, when Benjamin Netanyahu took office.
The news service Reuters reported that the conviction carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
Olmert, Zaken and others also await trial in a bribery case involving a Jerusalem real-estate project.