Morris Talansky said he will not return to Israel for another round of questioning in the corruption case against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Talansky, an American Jewish financier who threw Israeli politics into disarray last May by testifying in a Jerusalem court that he gave Olmert more than $150,000 in undocumented cash handouts, said through his lawyers Thursday that he will not return to be cross-examined by the prime minister’s lawyers.
Talansky was already cross-examined once, in late July. But Olmert’s defense team, which accuses the fund-raiser of inconsistencies and fabrications, requested another round.
According to Talansky’s lawyers, he is shunning further proceedings in the Olmert case for fear that his testimony could be used against him by U.S. authorities in a separate funding probe.
An Olmert spokesman voiced surprise at Talansky’s announcement, saying the defense team will weigh its options in the coming days.
Olmert has denied wrongdoing in his ties to Talansky but, under public scrutiny from the affair, announced last month he would step down after his party picks a new leader in September.