Olmert proceedings to be stepped up

Israel’s attorney general ordered an expedited investigation into Ehud Olmert’s ties to an American fund-raiser.

Menachem Mazuz convened top Israeli prosecutors Thursday to discuss the affair, in which the prime minister is suspected of illicitly receiving cash from U.S. businessman Morris Talansky in previous government posts.

According to Justice Ministry sources, Mazuz ordered his team to focus on the Talansky case and shelve three other probes in which Olmert was implicated. The prime minister denies wrongdoing in all the cases against him.

Mazuz is expected to decide on whether to indict Olmert within six weeks, the sources said. The charges could include bribery, illegal campaign financing and money laundering.

Talansky, who testified in an Israeli court this week to having given Olmert at least $150,000 in unrecorded cash handouts over a 15-year period, is due to be deposed by the prime minister’s lawyers July 17.

But Olmert’s counsel, keen to turn the tables in a case that has drawn calls for the prime minister to resign, may push to cross-question Talansky as soon as early June, when he is expected to visit family in Israel.

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