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Israel police reveal new evidence in PM Olmert corruption investigation

[JURIST] Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official profile] misappropriated approximately $100,000 by double-billing different sources for travel and hotel expenses, Israeli police said Friday after questioning the politician. Olmert's travel agency, Rishon Tours, would allegedly ask various state agencies and charities to pay Olmert's travel bills without telling them that other bodies were also being asked to pay the same bills. The new allegations come as part of a continuing investigation into accusations of corruption surrounding Olmert's relationship with US businessman Morris Talansky. State prosecutors say Olmert personally received cash payments [Jerusalem Post report; JURIST report] from Talansky while serving as a minister of industry, trade and labor. In May, police raided Olmert's offices [JURIST report] in search of evidence. Olmert has denied all wrongdoing. AP has more. Ha'aretz has local coverage.

Olmert has been accused of questionable business dealings for the past several years. In April 2007, Olmert was investigated for improperly favoring his supporters [JURIST report] in distributing business grants during his time as trade minister. In January 2007, the Israeli Ministry of Justice announced plans to launch an investigation [JURIST report] into allegations that he promoted the interests of two business associates during the 2005 state sale of Bank Leumi [corporate website]. Throughout these scandals, Olmert has maintained that he is innocent. Law enforcement officials had indicated that the investigation into Olmert revealed evidence that could lead to additional charges [Ha'aretz report].

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