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Raiders of the Lost Financial Records

by michael May 13 2008
Municipal news


Maybe Olmert hid the money under the lion

Most Jerusalemites spent last week being clobbered by plastic hammers and cholesterol in honor of Independence Day, but one city resident - Prime Minister Olmert - spent it being clobbered by justice. Olmert is, once again, accused of all manner of financial wrongdoing, centering this time around an American businessman who sent the Prime Minister an awful lot of off-the-record money during Olmert's tenure as the mayor of this fair city. And yesterday, in a development sure to spark spasms of schadenfreude among the oft-bamboozled residents of Jerusalem, the Municipality was raided by the police, who were searching for documents related to Olmert's manifold financial improprieties. 

Israeli police said on Monday they searched Jerusalem's city hall and confiscated documents as part of a bribery investigation that could force out Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Olmert admitted last week that he took cash from an American businessman at the centre of the investigation but he has denied any wrongdoing. Olmert said he would resign if indicted.

The investigation could overshadow a visit this week by U.S. President George W. Bush to mark Israel's 60th birthday and to promote peacemaking with the Palestinians.

"Today the National Fraud unit carried out a search in the offices of the Jerusalem municipality and confiscated documents and other materials as part of its ongoing investigation involving the prime minister," a police spokesman said.

Legal sources say police suspect that Olmert took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the businessman, New York Jewish financier Morris Talansky, over a decade in coded payments.

What the article doesn't tell you, of course, is that the coppers tried to raid the Municipality on Sunday, but after taking a number and waiting in line for several hours, they were forced to postpone the raid when all the Municipality workers punched out at 3:15.

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