Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is already facing six-years in prison after he was convicted on a corruption charge last May, was found guilty of accepting illegal payments from a U.S. supporter in yet another, separate corruption case brought against him.
His latest conviction, which was delivered on Monday, came after the Jerusalem District Court reversed a 2012 ruling in which he was acquitted, NPR reported. The district court found that he had accepted cash-filled envelopes from an American businessman hoping to further his interests in the country. The cash bribes, which resulted in his six-year sentence, were allegedly accepted while he was serving as the city’s mayor.
The court’s latest decision comes as a result of allegations that Olmert accepted roughly $600,000 from American businessman Morris Talansky while he was mayor of Jerusalem and another roughly $153,950 while he was a Cabinet minister.
He was convicted after a former aide turned witness and testified against him in exchange for a plea bargain. The aide’s testimony implicated him of fraud as well as breach of trust.
Olmert, who served as the country’s prime minister from 2006 to 2009, received six-years in prison for a separate bribery case last year involving a real estate deal, however, he’s currently appealing the decision and his lawyer was quoted by The Associated Press as having said that he’ll probably appeal Monday’s decision as well.
According to the NY Daily News, the ex-PM’s latest conviction could land him five-years in prison, on top of the six he was already sentenced to in last year’s bribery conviction.
Mr. Olmert, who has denied any wrongdoing in both cases, announced his resignation as prime minister of Israel back in 2008, cutting short his pursuit of peace with the Palestinian people, however, he retained his position until a new government was set in place after elections were held in 2009.
It was just years ago that Ehud had hoped to lead Israel to a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians, but now he finds himself embroiled in corruption scandals which have placed his own freedom and well-being in jeopardy.
What are your thoughts on the downfall of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert?