Video: Interview with Olmert's 'fund raiser'Morris (Moshe) Talansky, who sent hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash over the course of years to current Israeli Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert, was interviewed tonight on Channel 10. The poor man didn't know what hit him. Here's a summary from the JPost and then we can go to the videotape.
Morris Talansky, the central figure in the new investigation against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, "emphatically denies" any allegations that he bribed Olmert.And now, let's go to the videotape and then I'll have a concluding comment.
In an interview with Channel 10 news on Sunday, Talansky said that he "never thought in any way that the money that I gave him - it was for the purpose of his becoming mayor or electioneering - was in any way illegal or wrong. He was not the only one who came to America to ask for money for the election campaign and so I thought it was legal."
Confronted with allegations that he had bribed the prime minister, Talnsky answered: "I emphatically deny that I had in my mind any business in Israel. It never crossed my mind to do business here, I don't own any land, I don't own any buildings, I don't own any factories, I never built anything here ... never, never was that my purpose. I have one apartment [here], that's all I had."
"Check all of the records," he said. "I don't have now and I never had. Nothing, nothing, I don't have [anything] here."
Talansky also provided religious reasoning to back up this statement, saying that his purpose in providing Olmert with money was binyan haaretz, to build the country. "It would have been a desecration, Hilul Hashem, if that was my intention [to gain something from it]."
"[Olmert] was the prince of the Likud. He was going to be mayor. He was a man that was respected and I respected him too like everybody else ... that's why we helped him."
Talansky explained that he assumed the money would go to Olmert's election campaign. "I haven't heard any different to this point and I really don't know anymore. It is very, very confusing. I have been in a state of questions and I don't know."
Talansky shrugged off reports in the media over the weekend that he had told investigators he feared Olmert would send someone to hurt him. "Oh forget it, that's ridiculous. It's not serious," he said.
I believe Talansky. I don't believe that he thought he was bribing Olmert. I know that type (and I got a better idea of where Talansky comes from because tonight I ran into someone who learned with his son in yeshiva - I won't say where). But what Olmert did with the money is a separate issue. And under Israeli law, there's no need to prove that Talansky gave Olmert the money as a bribe. All that needs to be proven is that Olmert took the money. And that seems to be a slam dunk.