Israeli Supreme Court sends former Prime Minister Olmert to jail

December 30, 2015 Agencies
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Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was convicted of bribery in 2014 over the Holyland corruption scandal, was sentenced to 18 months in prison Tuesday after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction. Olmert, who will be the first Israeli prime minister ever to be jailed, is expected to begin serving his prison sentence on Feb. 15.

Ehud Olmert talks at Sydney's Montefiore Home photo: Henry Benjamin

Ehud Olmert talks at Sydney’s Montefiore Home photo: Henry Benjamin

Tuesday’s ruling partially overturned Olmert’s conviction and reduced his original sentence from six years to 18 months.

The Holyland scandal, considered one of the most severe cases of corruption in the public sector due to its scope and the high-ranking officials involved, came to light in 2010. In 2014, following a two-year trial, Tel Aviv District Judge David Rozen convicted 13 out of 16 defendants in the case, including Olmert and his former bureau chief, Shula Zaken.

In a statement to the media shortly after the ruling, Olmert said, “A heavy weight has been lifted off my shoulders over the Supreme Court’s decision to acquit me on the main count [of bribery].”

The former prime minister said he was disappointed with the upheld conviction and maintained he was innocent of any wrongdoing.

“I was never offered a bribe and I never accepted bribes … but I respect the Supreme Court’s decision,” he said. (Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org)

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