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Former Israel PM Olmert indicted on corruption charges

[JURIST] Former Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official profile; JURIST news archive] was indicted on three charges of corruption and fraud on Sunday after a lengthy period of accusations following his resignation from government a year ago. He is the first Israeli head of government to be indicted for alleged crimes. The three charges [Jerusalem Post report] all involve some monetary mismanagement, from the double-billing of his travel expenses by his travel agent, so that several different government agencies all paid the same costs, to accepting cash from American businessman Morris Talansky, and privileging his former law partner Uri Messer to state information. Several cases against Olmert were also closed for lack of evidence. Olmert himself has said he is innocent and expects to be exonerated. A trial date has not been set by Attorney General Menahem Mazuz [official profile], but Olmert will likely be tried [Ha'aretz report] before a panel of three judges, a form usually reserved for those still in office.

Olmert has been dogged by accusations of corruption for 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]. Olmert resigned as PM last year as a result of the continued accusations against him.

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