Israel official recommends criminal probe of alleged Olmert patronage payoffs

[JURIST] Israel's state comptroller Wednesday recommended holding a criminal investigation into allegations that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official website; BBC profile] improperly favored his supporters in distributing business grants when he was trade minister in 2001. A number of Israeli politicians, including several from Olmert's own ruling coalition, responded to the recommendation by calling for Olmert to resign as prime minister. The state attorney general will ultimately make the decision on whether to pursue a criminal investigation.

This is not the first time Olmert has been investigated for questionable deals. A number of scandals have emerged surrounding the Israeli prime minister in recent years, including accusations that he promoted the interests of two business associates during the 2005 state sale of Bank Leumi [corporate website], but Olmert has maintained that he has done nothing wrong. In January, the Israeli Ministry of Justice announced plans to launch an investigation [JURIST report] into allegations surrounding Olmert's involvement with the sale of Bank Leumi. AP has more.

 

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