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Police Investigating Charges Against Former Minister Olmert

The national police fraud squad is investigating allegations that former Likud Health Minister Ehud Olmert was involved in collusion over the purchase of medical equipment by state hospitals during his term in office.

Olmert on Wednesday denied any wrongdoing in transactions involving sales of computerized equipment made by Microshev, a small firm owned by party colleague Yigal Cohen-Orgad. He said he hoped for a speedy inquiry “to deny my political foes the opportunity to exploit” the incident.

Police opened their investigation two months ago at the request of Attorney General Yosef Harish, in the wake of findings by State Comptroller Miriam Ben- Porat.

The former health minister said that at the time he had urged hospitals to buy Israeli-made equipment, as long as it was up to international standards. But he said he had not even been aware of Cohen-Orgad’s stake in Microshev.

The manufacturer served briefly as minister of finance during the 1980s.

Olmert’s name has been mentioned as a leading Likud candidate for the mayoralty of Jerusalem when Teddy Kollek steps down at the end of next year.

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