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21261
“Former Prime Minister Olmert Convicted on Bribery Charges”
by INN - Gil Ronen and Ari Soffer   
March 31st, 2014

Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen has convicted former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of taking bribes, in connection with the infamous Holyland corruption scandal, utterly rejecting Olmert's version of events and determining that he was aware that large amounts of money were given to his brother, Yossi, by state witness Shmuel Dachner, now deceased. 

Olmert's former bureau chief Shula Zaken has also been convicted of accepting 100,000 shekels in bribe money, according to reports from the courtroom. Former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski was also found guilty in charges related to the scandal.

Judge Rosen announced the acquittal of real estate men Shimon Galon and Amnon Safran, as well as former Israel Lands Authority head Yaakov Efrati. According to law, acquittals need to be announced at the start of the decision.

Other defendants convicted on bribery charges include former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupoliansky, former city engineer Uri Sheetrit, and businessman Hillel Cherney. All in all, there were 13 people and three companies on the defendants' bench in this case. 

The judge noted that the testimony of state witness Dachner was detailed but also contradictory. He preferred Dachner's testimony to Olmert's, however, and it was the key to the conviction. Olmert "tried to besmirch the witness, even at the price of lying to the court," the judge added.

"Hundreds of thousands of shekels were transferred to public leaders,” wrote Rosen. “The dirty money was given in order to advance the business of the people who gave the money. Every defendant has his own corruption case. Dachner came up with the idea and carried out the bribery deals. In the court, he answered the lawyers' questions as best he could.”

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