Ehud Olmert’s children told the Israeli media they were promised that nothing was illicit about the payments for their family vacations.
The written response by the Israeli prime minister’s four children came Sunday to allegations made two days earlier by the Israeli Justice Ministry and the police that Olmert double billed for trips abroad and pocketed the extra money.
Olmert is suspected of taking money from multiple organizations to pay for the same trips and then using the excess money to cover family vacations. The trips in question took place when Olmert was the mayor of Jerusalem and later trade minister.
“Our father explicitly explained that the plane tickets were a present from him, paid from his pocket,” Michal, Dana, Shaul and Ariel Olmert wrote.
A joint statement by the Justice Ministry and police – released after Olmert’s third round of questioning with police – also said that several weeks ago the attorney general approved a widening of the criminal investigation into whether Olmert received illegal funds.
The investigation began with suspicions that Olmert received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Morris Talansky, a New York businessman.
Also Sunday, the state prosecutors’ office told the Jerusalem district court that it would not give Olmert’s attorneys new information gathered in the investigation of the Talansky case. The state said that providing more material could damage its case.