Indictment against Olmert Pending

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel Police National Fraud Unit detectives said an indictment against outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the Rishon Tours case could be issued long before general elections.

A team of detectives dispatched to the States to take additional depositions said the new evidence confirms their earlier recommendation to indict Olmert.

The case, also called "Olmerttours," accuses the prime minister of approving multiple billing of nonprofit agencies to fund his official trips abroad and using the excess money to pay for private family trips.

Nonetheless, Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has delayed issuing an indictment while Olmert is serving as head of a transitional government.

By official letter, Mazuz instructed Olmert and his Cabinet ministers to conduct themselves as caretakers of a transitional government, avoiding any major policy decisions.

In Monday's opening of the Knesset's winter session, Olmert told legislators that for now, he remains the nation's prime minister.

"There are decisions to be made and a state to be run," he said.

Meanwhile, Police also recommended indicting Olmert in the Morris Talansky affair, involving tens of thousands of cash donations over a period of many years. Talansky, however, refused to return to Israel for additional testimony because of a pending U.S. indictment against him.

Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel accompanied the detectives on this last trip to ask U.S. Justice Department officials to grant the 75-year-old American businessman immunity so he could complete his testimony in the case.

Source: Haaretz

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