Middle East
Israeli police question Olmert
The prime minister is interrogated for a second time in bribery inquiry.
Last Modified: 23 May 2008 09:14 GMT
Olmert has denied accepting any bribe from US businessman Morris Talansky [GALLO/GETTY]

Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, is being questioned for a second time by the police, as a part of a bribery investigation.
Friday's investigation will probe Olmert's alleged role in accepting money from Morris Talansky, an American Jewish businessman.
Olmert, who has denied any wrongdoing, was first questioned about three weeks ago.
Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman, said: "Olmert will be questioned for the second time by investigators from the national fraud unit on Friday."
No charges
Earlier, Israel's chief prosecutor had said that investigators suspected Olmert had taken envelopes of cash from Talansky, a New York based fundraiser.

Israeli police say no charges have been filed against Olmert.

"Detectives and state prosecutors are exploring the possibility that he took bribes, violated campaign funding laws and laundered money," police said.

Olmert has acknowledged taking money from Talansky for political campaigns, but said his campaign finances were the responsibility of a longtime confidant.

Olmert's confidant was also separately questioned by the police on Thursday.

Talansky's testimony

Meanwhile, Talansky has said that he received nothing from Olmert in exchange for the money. He is due to give evidence in court on Sunday.

Prosecutors want Talansky to give evidence under oath before a court order banning him from leaving Israel expires on Monday.

Jacques Chen, Talansky's lawyer, said: "He is anxious to return to the US immediately thereafter."

Olmert's defence team, however, wants to put off Talansky's testimony, saying it needs more time to prepare for his cross-examination.

Israel announced on Wednesday that it had begun indirect peace talks with Syria in Turkey, a move that many Israelis think is meant only to divert attention from the inquiry into Olmert.

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