Olmert asked for donation in cash: Witness

May 27th, 2008 - 7:14 pm ICT by admin  

Jerusalem, May 27 (DPA) The main state witness in a new corruption case against Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert testified Tuesday that he had given Olmert donations in cash because the premier had said he did not want to receive cheques. Olmert is suspected of illegally taking hundreds of thousands of US dollars from the witness, Morris Talansky, a Jewish fundraiser and businessman from Long Island in the US, in the years before he became premier in May 2006.

Talansky began testifying to a Jerusalem court Tuesday on behalf of the prosecution.

The pre-trial cross-examination, held in English, was expected to last some seven hours. Prosecutors had pressed for the early deposition, because they fear Talansky, as a US national, may not return to Israel if and when a trial begins. Talansky has been in Israel since April but an injunction against his leaving the country is due to expire.

Talansky told the Jerusalem District Court that he collected the money from various Jewish organizations and donors in the US, and transferred it to Olmert between 1992 and 2005. He said Olmert asked for the donations for election campaigns, but he had interpreted his refusal to use the word “cheques” as meaning the money should be handed over in cash.

The new affair broke when police first questioned Olmert three weeks ago on the suspicions that he received large sums of money from Talansky in envelopes and without proper reporting to authorities.

Police questioned Olmert on the affair - which has already become known in Israel as “the money envelopes” - three weeks ago, again on Friday.

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