x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Olmert faces further corruption questions

The outgoing Israeli prime minister is questioned by police for the eighth time since May on corruption allegations.

The outgoing Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has denied any wrongdoing.
The outgoing Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has denied any wrongdoing.

The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was questioned by police today for the eighth time since May on corruption allegations that led him to resign from office last month. "The interrogation is being conducted at the official residence of the prime minister and should normally last two hours," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Mr Olmert tendered his resignation on September 21 in the wake of a series of corruption allegations concerning financial dealings when he served as Jerusalem mayor and trade minister before assuming the premiership in 2006.

He will continue to serve as interim prime minister until the foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, forms a new governing coalition or the country holds snap elections ? a period of political limbo that could last weeks or months. Police have recommended that the 63-year-old Mr Olmert should be indicted on criminal charges in cases where he is accused of illegally accepting large sums of cash from a US financier and multiple-billing foreign trips.

Mr Olmert has denied any wrongdoing. His resignation has dealt a major blow to already sluggish US-backed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks relaunched in November 2007, when the two sides vowed to try to reach a full peace deal by the end of 2008. If Ms Livni is unable to form a government in the coming weeks general elections would be held early next year, which polls indicate would give the right-wing Likud party the most seats in Israel's parliament. * AFP