State accuses Olmert of taking cash


Israel’s top prosecutor publicly accused Ehud Olmert of taking cash from a New York businessman.

State Prosecutor Moshe Lador appeared Monday at Israel’s Supreme Court to defend his request to depose the businessman, Morris Talansky, about his ties to the prime minister.

Lador said Olmert in an earlier government post “allegedly received cash, both in Israel and abroad” from Talansky and that Olmert’s longtime confidante, Shula Zaken, facilitated some of the alleged cash handovers.

Police have questioned Olmert, who has acknowledged receiving money from Talansky, but said it was for campaign financing and did not constitute a bribe. The prime minister vowed to resign if indicted in the case.

The Jerusalem District Court granted prosecutors permission to take preliminary testimony from Talansky, who was detained after coming to Israel for Passover. Lawyers for Olmert and Zaken challenged the ruling at the Supreme Court, arguing that deposing Talansky at this stage would be unwarranted.

The Supreme Court did not immediately issue a decision.

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