Talansky Won't Return in August to Testify

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - American businessman and financier Morris Talansky will not be returning to Israel at the end of August to continue the cross-examination by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's legal team.

Talansky is a key witness in a criminal investigation alleging that Olmert received tens of thousands of dollars in cash-stuffed envelopes over a 10-year period.

Talansky was due back in Israel at the end of August for more questioning by Olmert's attorneys, who cross-examined the 75-year-old American for five days last month.

Attorneys for Olmert's former aide Shula Zaken were also scheduled to cross-examine Talansky.

A letter from Talanksy's American attorneys Thursday informed his Israeli lawyer, Jacques Chen, that their client is facing a grand jury investigation in the States.

"Since Mr. Talansky returned from Israel in connection with the ongoing investigation of Prime Minister Olmert, we have learned that he is the subject of a grand jury investigation in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York," Talansky's American attorneys stated in the letter.

"It is our understanding that the New York federal investigation mirrors in many respects the matters at issue in the Israeli investigation. In fact, we have learned that the FBI accompanied Israeli officials during their investigation in the United States. By cooperating with Israeli authorities, Mr. Talansky has placed himself in legal jeopardy in the US," they wrote.

Talansky will not return to Israel until "the US grand jury matter is resolved so that he is not once again placed in the position of providing testimony that will then be used against him in the United States in violation of his Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. Accordingly, Mr. Talansky does not intend to appear in court on August 31, 2008," they stated.

Olmert's attorneys cross-examined Talansky for five days last month, managing to discredit some of his pre-trail deposition by showing that his memory was faulty in some instances, but a lot of damaging testimony remains, which could be enough to indict the prime minister in this case.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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