Both the Forward and the Jerusalem Post have more details about the linkage between the investigation of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and a separate FBI probe of Morris Talansky, an American businessman and key witness in the Olmert case. As we reported on Aug. 12, Talansky refused to return to Israel for another round of questioning for fear his testimony could be used against him in the United States.
Now it appears that not only could Talansky be imperiled by cooperating with the Israelis, but the Olmert investigation could itself be derailed if Talansky can’t return to Israel for questioning because of his own legal troubles. Talansky’s attorneys are reportedly using that line of argument to persuade Israel to press American authorities to drop their case.
Apparently, it’s working. The Forward reports that Israeli prosecutors are trying to persuade the Justice Department to drop its investigation to ensure Talansky returns to Israel for further questioning. According to a Jerusalem Post report, Israel’s request is more modest – that the U.S. won’t use Talansky’s testimony in the Olmert case against him.
In May, Talansky testified that he gave Olmert $150,000 over the past decade, some of it in the form of cash-filled envelopes.