Olmert Questioned a Fourth Time

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel Police National Fraud Unit detectives arrived at the Jerusalem residence of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Friday morning to interrogate him for the fourth time.

The session went beyond the scheduled two hours by an additional 45 minutes.

According to a spokeswoman for the National Fraud Unit, Friday's session may have been all the police need to prepare their findings to present to the State Prosecutor's Office.

"It depends on the dynamics of the questioning session. If detectives exhaustively run through the questions with Olmert, an additional date [for questioning] may not be necessary," she said.

Nonetheless, National Fraud Unit chief Commander Shlomi Ayalon asked Olmert's lawyers for a fifth session to address other cases of financial improprieties, which still under investigation.

Today's session was expected to focus on the case dubbed "Olmertours" in which organizations were double and triple billed for the same trip, with the overflow allegedly used to fund trips for Olmert's family.

Indictments in the two most recent cases, the Morris Talansky affair, alleging that Olmert received tens of thousands of cash over a period of years, and the Rishon Tour case could come as early as September. 1.

In the interim, Olmert's legal team will have one chance to either challenge or delay an indictment.

"According to the law, every suspect who is about to be indicted receives a notice from the prosecution notifying him of this, giving him 30 days to try to convince the prosecutors that there is a reason why the indictment shouldn't be served," Deputy Commander (ret.) Boaz Guttman, former chief investigator for the National Fraud Unit, told The Jerusalem Post.

"During this period, Olmert's lawyers could call a hearing and argue that there are flaws in the way police managed the investigation," he said.

"If prosecutors agreed, it could be dangerous, as police would be ordered to go back and investigate again. On the other hand, this can backfire on the suspect because it could make the case against him even more severe," Guttman said.

Because state prosecutors have accompanied National Fraud Unit detectives from the start of the investigations, it's likely that they will reject arguments alleging irregularities in the investigation, Guttman said.

Following today's session, the team of investigators, led by Ayalon, will brief Commander Yohanan Danino, head of the Investigations and Intelligence Unit, and Major General Yoav Segalovich, head of Lahav 433, known as "the Israeli FBI."

Following the debriefing, Danino and Segalovich will brief Attorney General Menachem (Meni) Mazuz on today's session, which will determine if police will question the prime minister a fifth time.

Sources: Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, YNet news

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