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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Another Olmert scandal brewing

Ehud Olmert has more problems this morning.

A HaAretz investigation claims to have uncovered instances of 'favoritism' extended by Olmert to clients of his attorney, Uri Messer, during the time that Olmert was Minister of Industry and Trade.

In all the cases examined, then trade minister Olmert participated in meetings that involved entrepreneurs and attorney Messer, on the one hand, and officials of the Ministry of Industry and Trade on the other.

Notwithstanding the regulations regarding possible conflict of interests, Olmert did not recuse himself from discussions on requests to further business interests of associates of his close friend, Messer, who is also the prime minister's personal attorney.


In all the cases mentioned in the Haaretz investigation report, a bonus was promised to attorney Messer should his lobbying activities at the Ministry of Industry and Trade prove successful. In all instances, Olmert did not inform the State Comptroller's Office or the attorney general of a possible conflict of interest, as is required by the regulations of the committee for the prevention of conflicts of interest for ministers and deputy ministers. Furthermore, in none of the cases did Olmert opt to disqualify himself because of conflict of interest.

In response Messer said: "I do not recall that I asked any of the people in Olmert's office to further projects related to me."

A statement issued by Olmert's office notes that "members of the Prime Minister's Office never handled nor intervened in cases represented by Messer. We are not aware of any matter that Messer promoted at the Ministry of Industry and Trade."
Read the whole thing.


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