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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Annapolis payoff: Police recommend closing Leumi case against Olmert

Here's the payoff for going to Annapolis: The police recommended tonight that the file against Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert in the Bank Leumi case be closed and that he not be indicted. You may recall that Olmert was under investigation for fixing a tender for the sale of government shares in the bank. It is now up to the State prosecutor - who just assumed the position last month - to decide whether to indict. MK's on both ends of the political spectrum are furious.
Zevulun Orlev, chairman of the State Control Committee, said the force failed in its duty when it decided to "roll out the red carpet for the prime minister upon his return from Annapolis".

According to Orlev, the police lack the authority to submit recommendations at the conclusion of any investigation.

"The over-enthusiasm exhibited by the police is more than bewildering," the head of the National Union-NRP Party said, while urging the State Prosecutor's Office to prove its independence and ignore the recommendations.

MK Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) said, "The police's decision whitewashed the disagreements among the investigators and ignored the unequivocal evidence and testimonies in the case.

"The political corruption poses a risk to the country's existence," she added.

Other MKs, particularly from Olmert's Kadima party, sided with the prime minister. "As was the case in other affairs involving past prime ministers, they made a mountain out of a molehill," Yoel Hasson said, adding that he hoped the State Prosecutor's Office would reach a quick decision on the matter and work toward concluding the other investigations against the prime minister.

Otniel Schneller, also of Kadima said the police's decision would "allow the prime minister to continue running the country.

"The Israeli people should be glad that Olmert will probably not be put on trial," he said.

Combine this story with the previous one (the next one down now on the home page) and I think you will all understand why many Israelis believe our country is hopelessly corrupt and ordinary citizens cannot get a fair shake here.


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