[JURIST] An Israeli trial court on Tuesday sentenced former prime minister Ehud Olmert [Knesset profile] to six years in prison for his role in a bribery scandal while serving as mayor of Jerusalem. The Tel Aviv District Court ruled [AP report] that Olmert was guilty of participating in a corrupt real estate deal in the 1990s involving the Holyland Towers housing project in Jerusalem, in which millions of dollars illegally changed hands. Ten other politicians and business leaders were sentenced to prison terms [Jerusalem Post report] in March for their involvement in the Holyland Towers scandal. It is unclear if Olmert will appeal the case.
Olmert [JURIST news archive] was convicted of bribery [JURIST report] in late March. In July 2012 Olmert was acquitted [JURIST report] of two major counts of corruption but found guilty of a third lesser charge in the culmination of a three-year trial. In a 700-page ruling, three senior judges of a Jerusalem court rejected the prosecution’s key accusations that as a cabinet minister and Jerusalem’s mayor before becoming prime minister Olmert received bribes from US businessman Moshe Talansky, and that Olmert defrauded Israeli charities by double-billing them for overseas fundraising trips, a charge popularly referred to as the Rishon Tours double-billing affair. Olmert was convicted of breach of trust for granting illegal favors to a long-time friend and business partner while serving as minister of industry, trade and labor between 2002 and 2007. In September 2012 the court sentenced [JURIST report] Olmert to a one-year suspended sentence and a fine of about $19,000 for the charge of breaching public trust.