With the filing this week of indictments in three cases against Ehud Olmert, the public is learning exactly how — and how much — Olmert allegedly took from American Jewish organizations by double-billing for expenses incurred in trips overseas. The Forward reports that the list includes:
* Israel Policy Forum
* American Friends of the Israel Defense Forces
* Israel Bonds
* Simon Wiesenthal Center
* Canadian Society for Yad Vashem
* Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis
* America-Israel Friendship League
As a sought-after speaker at Jewish and pro-Israeli gatherings worldwide, he was frequently invited to address different groups. On many occasions, several groups invited Olmert to speak during the same visit to the United States.
The travel agency arranging the tours was allegedly in on the plot, and it billed each one of the groups for full travel expenses, despite the fact that only one of them was actually paying for the tours…
In some cases, several groups were required to cover the same travel expenses; in others, they were asked to pay for the flights even though the government of Israel already covered the costs. All the alleged double billing took place before Olmert became prime minister in 2006. At the time of the events documented in the indictment, Olmert served as mayor of Jerusalem and as a senior Cabinet minister.
“Based on this misrepresentation on behalf of the defendants, the organizations and the government paid extra amounts of money for funding the defendant’s flight tickets in a way that left him with significant surplus, which was used by him and his family to pay for their private flights and for upgrading the defendant’s flights to first class,” the indictment reads. It goes on to state, “In the acts described above, the defendant defamed the country in the eyes of these organizations and harmed the image of the Israeli public service and the reputation of the State of Israel.”
Full story here.