Ex-Israel PM sentenced to six years imprisonment for bribery

A court in Israel has sentenced Ehud Olmert, former Prime Minister to six years in prison for bribery and fined him 1m shekels, that is, $289,000 on May 12.

The judge ordered Olmert to report to prison on September 1, effectively giving his lawyers time to lodge their planned appeal with the Supreme Court. If he ends up in jail, Olmert would be the first former head of government in Israel to be jailed.

The 68-year-old was convicted in March over a real estate deal that took place while he served as Mayor of Jerusalem.

The Tel Aviv District Court found he had accepted a 500,000-shekel that is, $145,000, bribe from the developers of a controversial apartment complex, known as Holyland, for which planning and zoning laws were changed, and another 60,000 shekels for a separate project.

Olmert, an attorney who in 1973 became the youngest person ever elected to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, was Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003 and Prime Minister from 2006 to 2009.

He announced his resignation shortly after police recommended corruption charges against him.

In August 2012, he was convicted of breach of trust and acquitted on two corruption-related charges after a trial that lasted nearly three years. He was given a 3-month suspended jail sentence and fined about $19,000 in that case.

Judge Uri Rozen said bribery offences, “contaminate the public sector” and “cause the structure of government to collapse.” He described Olmert’s offences as “noxious” and said he was guilty of “moral turpitude”, which under Israeli law would preclude him from running for public office for seven years after finishing his jail term.

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