Ex-Israeli PM Olmert sentenced for corruption | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 24.09.2012
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Middle East

Ex-Israeli PM Olmert sentenced for corruption

An Israeli court has found ex-Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert guilty of corruption charges. Olmert must pay a fine, but won't serve time in prison.

The Jerusalem District Court reached a verdict on Monday in a corruption trial involving the country's former prime minister, Ehud Olmert. Olmert must now pay a fine of 75,300 shekels (14,942 euros, $19,300). The court also handed down a one-year suspended jail sentence, meaning Olmert will not go to prison.

In a case revolving around granting favors to a former colleague, the Jerusalem court said that Olmert was guilty of a "grave and absolute conflict of interest" and that the gravity of the case required "a practical response," according to Israeli public radio.

"I am leaving the courtroom with my head held high," the former prime minster told reporters after his sentencing in Monday.

"I said last time that in everything regarding the offenses of which I was convicted, I would respect the court's judgement and learn the necessary lessons," he said.

Case 'not closed'

The prosecutor in Olmert's latest corruption trial, Eli Abravanel, told reporters that the trial had ended, but that the case was not closed.

"The sentencing considerations are complicated in this case; they are unusual. We shall examine this ruling studiously, not make off-the-cuff statements," Abravanel said after the trial's conclusion on Monday.

"We shall see if an appeal is justified or not," he said.

Ehud Olmert's political career came to a halt in 2008 after corruption charges forced him out of office. Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003. After serving as a cabinet member, he was elected prime minister in 2006 as the head of the Kadima party.

In July, an Israeli court found him guilty of breach of trust, but acquitted him of two other charges. Olmert now faces bribery charges in a housing project case from his tenure as mayor of Jerusalem.

kms/tj (AFP, Reuters)