Olmert in court denies corruption charges


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert denied all of the corruption charges against him.

Olmert appeared in Jerusalem District Court Monday to make his first public response to the indictment filed against him in three separate cases earlier in the year.

"I would like to take the opportunity of this day to make a comprehensive denial of all the allegations made against Olmert in the indictment," Olmert’s attorney Eli Zohar said in a statement to the court.

Olmert is on trial in three cases: for allegedly paying for family vacations by double billing Jewish organizations through the Rishon Tours travel agency; for allegedly accepting envelopes full of cash from American businessman Morris Talansky; and for allegedly granting personal favors to attorney Uri Messer when he served as trade minister in the Investment Center case.

He is charged with fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate records and tax evasion.

Olmert is the first former Israeli prime minister to stand trial. He resigned as prime minister in September 2008 after police investigators recommended he be indicted.

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