Israeli police begin Olmert probe

Israeli police have begun initial checks to decide whether to open a criminal investigation of possible illegal activity by Ehud Olmert, the prime minister.

    Olmert has denied any wrongdoing

    "There must be factual evidence beforehand for the attorney-general to be able to decide whether to order police to begin a criminal investigation," Moshe Cohen, a justice ministry spokesman, said.
       
    "To reach such a decision, they asked police to conduct preliminary checks," he said.
       
    There was no immediate comment from Israeli police.
       
    The justice ministry said on Thursday prosecutors were looking into material relating to the sale of Bank Leumi in 2005, when Olmert was finance minister.
       
    Israeli media had said Olmert had allegedly promoted the interests of two overseas businessmen in bidding for the bank, whose controlling interest was sold to US investment group Cerberus-Gabriel for 2.47 billion shekels [$540 million].
       
    Israel's state comptroller, its main government watchdog, told attorney-general Menachem Mazuz last week that it suspected there was prima facie evidence indicating Olmert may have committed a crime, Israeli media reported.
       
    The prime minister, whose popularity has plunged following Israel's war with Lebanon, has already been accused of cronyism in his purchase of a Jerusalem apartment in 2004.
       
    His office has not commented on the issue, but Olmert has said all real-estate deals he had ever conducted were legal.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.