Israel's former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been sentenced to six years in prison for taking bribes, in a corruption case that resulted in the first criminal conviction of a former head of government.

Olmert, 68, had denied wrongdoing in a property deal that took place while he was in his previous post of Jerusalem mayor.

His lawyers were expected to ask the Tel Aviv court that passed the sentence to allow Olmert to remain free until the Supreme Court rules on an appeal against his March 31 conviction, a process that could take months.

The veteran politician was acquitted two years ago of most of the major charges brought against him in separate cases involving his links to a US businessman.

Those corruption allegations forced Olmert's resignation as prime minister in 2008, and his acquittal had appeared to position him for a possible political comeback.

But in the new corruption trial, Judge David Rozen found Olmert guilty of two bribery charges and said he accepted $144,000 from developers of the Holyland apartment building complex in Jerusalem and $17,000 in a separate property project.

Source: Agencies