A decade later, Talansky said, he donated $72,500 to Olmert's campaign in a Likud primary, in which candidates for parliament competed for spots on the party's general election ticket. Party primary races are expensive and not publicly funded.
Much of the money for Olmert, he said, was raised at New York "parlor meetings" where the candidate would address American donors, who would then leave contributions on their chairs. Talansky said he was asked to turn over the total in cash.
When he asked why he couldn't give checks, which would be tax-deductible, Olmert explained that Likud regulations would have required him to share the money with other candidates, Talansky said.
"Cash disturbed me," Talansky testified. "I accepted the answer simply because I saw something bigger" in Olmert's potential.
At another point, he said, "That's why I overlooked, frankly and honestly, a lot of things. I overlooked them. Maybe I shouldn't have."
A prosecutor asked Talansky whether he had obtained receipts for any of the cash donations, which ranged from $5,000 to $15,000 at a time. The question touched off laughter in the courtroom. Talansky replied that he had not.
Olmert sometimes solicited cash for unspecified personal expenses and liked to live well, Talansky said; he flew first class, stayed in hotel suites, smoked fine cigars and sported luxury pens and watches.
Talansky said he "never expected anything personally" from Olmert in return and "never had any personal benefits from this relationship, whatsoever."
But he said Olmert had offered to help him with his mini-bar business and put him in touch with two major players in the American hotel market. Nothing came from those contacts, he said.