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Israel's Ehud Olmert convicted of obstruction of justice

The ex-mayor of Jerusalem and former prime minister of Israel will serve six months in prison. The court said his jail time will run parallel to his 18-month sentence for accepting bribes from housing developers.

The Jerusalem Magistrates Court on Tuesday convicted former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on two counts of obstruction of justice after he pleaded guilty to pressuring a confidant to not testify against him in multiple cases.

Last month, Olmert pleaded guilty in a plea bargain under which the 70-year-old will spend six months in prison and pay a fine of 50,000 Israeli shekels (11,900 euros, $13,000).

In 2014, Olmert was convicted to six years in prison for accepting bribes amounting to more than 166,000 euros ($181,000) from developers of the Holyland apartment complex in Jerusalem.

The sum was given to Olmert in exchange for him smoothing over legal and zoning restrictions when he was Jerusalem's mayor.

However, Israel's Supreme Court last December reduced the sentence to 18 months. The ex-prime minister is scheduled to report to prison on February 15.

The Jerusalem Magistrates Court on Tuesday said he would report to jail the same day his prior sentencing would begin, adding that time served for his obstruction of justice conviction would run parallel to that of his bribery conviction, effectively allowing him to serve both sentences at the same time.

Beginning February 15, Olmert will become the first Israeli political leader to serve in prison.

Olmert stepped down as prime minister in 2009 due to corruption allegations, after which he was succeeded by conservative hardliner Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

ls/ng (AP, dpa)