Olmert aide slams ‘police leaks

An adviser to Ehud Olmert accused Israeli police of leaking details of his bribery investigation to the media.

Ma’ariv reported Wednesday that the Israeli prime minister had admitted during a police interrogation to having taken cash envelopes from American financier Morris Talansky, though he said the sums were in the hundreds of dollars only.

The putative comments did not stray dramatically from Olmert’s public statement, after the Talansky affair broke in May, that he had received money from the fund-raiser for campaign expenses. But the details in the apparent leak drew an angry response from Olmert advisor Amir Dan, who assailed police.

“This is a technique for coordinating testimony,” Dan told Army Radio. “This technique will undoubtedly be investigated, but it must cease immediately.”

Under Israeli law, police investigators are prohibited from contacting Talansky until he has finished giving court testimony in the case. Talansky is scheduled to make his second appearance in Jerusalem District Court next week and will be cross-questioned by Olmert’s lawyers.

Dan’s argument was that the police, wanting to help Talansky keep his testimony convincing, were using the media to provide him with key elements from Olmert’s version of events.

Unnamed police officers rejected the allegation in statements to Israeli press.

Olmert has denied wrongdoing in his ties to Talansky and has vowed to resign if indicted. He is to be questioned by police for a third time Friday.

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