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September 24, 2007
Olmert Officially under Investigation for Corruption
As if he didn't have enough legal troubles being under a cloud for his alleged intervention in the tender for the privatization of a bank, Prime Minister Olmert is now under investigation for a shady real estate deal from 2004:
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz has ordered police to launch a criminal investigation into Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's purchase of an apartment on Jerusalem's Cremieux St. in 2004, the Justice Ministry said Monday. The investigation will look into the possibility that Olmert reaped as much as a $500,000 discount on the apartment:
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss has already investigated allegations that Olmert bought the house at a price significantly below market value, opening suspicions of fraud and bribery.
Olmert declared his innocence and insisted the price he paid was fair.
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss is investigating suspicions that Olmert and his wife Aliza received $500,000 as a result of an unusually high discount in the purchase of their garden apartment on Cremieux Street in Jerusalem. There are other investigations into 2 other real estate deals that Olmert was involved in.
According to the suspicions, Olmert's associates helped the construction firm that refurbished the home on Cremieux Street in gaining irregular permits from the Jerusalem Municipality, which significantly increased the company's profits in the project. More specifically, the approved area for construction at the site was 350 square meters and the permits increased it to 750 square meters. This story was first published by investigative reporter Yoav Yitzhaki.
It should be pointed out that Olmert has been investigated several times for corruption but has never been convicted. This case appears to be particularly detailed however and some observers think that this scandal will finally bring about the Prime Minister's resignation.