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Israeli police call for Olmert to be indicted

September 08, 2008|From the Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israel's police recommended Sunday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert be indicted in a string of corruption cases, according to an official document.

The statement said officers are seeking his indictment in incidents that include receiving tens of thousands of dollars from a U.S. businessman and double-billing Jewish groups for trips abroad.

The police recommendation would have only limited effect. The decision on whether to indict Olmert rests with the attorney general, Menachem Mazuz. Mazuz and his predecessors previously have turned down police recommendations to indict leaders.

The political impact is also limited. Olmert had announced in July that he would resign later this month because of the corruption investigations. Though he has been dogged by corruption charges throughout his long public career, Olmert has never been indicted and has denied any wrongdoing.

The police recommendations cover affairs that occurred before Olmert became prime minister in 2006. The charges include receiving bribes, breach of public trust, money laundering and others.

Olmert's lawyers said the police recommendation is "of no value," because the attorney general makes the final decision. The lawyers noted that a Supreme Court justice spoke out against the practice of police passing a recommendation along with the results of their inquiry.

Olmert announced July 30 that he would not run in the primary election in his Kadima party and would submit his resignation after a new party leader is chosen.

If Olmert's successor as party leader can form a coalition, Israel could have a new government in October.

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